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03/01/2008 - Phuket International Airport expansion plans approved by AOT board.  03/01/2008 - Phuket International Airport expansion plans approved by AOT board.

The Airports of Thailand board has offciallly recoginsed the need for a long-term development plan for Phuket International Airport to cater for the growing number of tourists each year.

The 20 to 25 year plan will allow for the systematic expansion of the airport to provide facilities for up to 15 million passengers per year by 2020.

The AOT is considering three alternatives.

The simplest and cheapest would be to develop the existing runway however, Phuket International Airport director, Sq Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree, said “Building a runway near the sea would have a large environmental impact, and the possibility of a tsunami doesn’t make the risk worth it due to the potential huge loss, and a disaster at the airport would have a mental affect on the public.”

Instead, Pornchai is in favour of a second option which involves building a new runway, taxiways and terminal at the southern side of the existing airport, which would require the removal of a large section of a hill.

The third option is identical to the second but would position the expansion at the northern side of the airport and would require a tunnel to connect the terminal buildings.

Mr Pornchai suggested that a mass transit system, from the airport to various points on the island, is needed to facilitate visitors as well as locals and to reduce road congestion and parking problems in the airport area.

The construction of the new airport would start in two to three years. Currently, the airport is welcoming 6 million passengers each year.






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