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18/05/2009 - Phuket International Airport to open Private Jet Terminal  18/05/2009 - Phuket International Airport to open Private Jet Terminal

The new director of Phuket International Airport, Mr Pratuang Sornkham has confirmed plans to extablish a private jet terminal to cater for VIP passengers.  

He confirmed a report in an aviation industry newsletter that Hong Kong based ASA Group has been granted permission by AOT (Airports of Thailand) to develop Thailand's first VIP terminal for private jets at the airport.

''We handle so many private flights into Bangkok and Phuket, so the time is right to cater for our growing client base of VIP visitors who have nowhere in the airport to go once they disembark'' the report quoted ASA representative Simon Wagstaff as saying at the May 14th to 16th European Business Aviation Convention in Geneva, Switzerland.

Services offered will include aircraft handling, charters, security, in-flight catering and over-flight and landing clearances, it was reported.

Mr Pratuang said the project is appropriate for the airport due to the growing number of businessmen and VIPs flying in to Phuket on private jets.  Currently there are between four and five private jets landing everyday.

In February this year, AOT  announced it would invest 5 billion baht in the expansion of Phuket International Airport in order to bring its capacity up to 11.5 million passengers by the year 2016, an increase of 77% over current capacity.

Mr Pratuang said he has already been ordered by Transport Minister Sopon Zarum to improve links between the airport and Phuket City, which are a constant source of complaints from tourists.

''I have been ordered to rectify the situation quickly, so I will meet with airport officials and the Phuket governor in order to find a way out of the problem'' he said.

Also in the pipeline is a plan to increase the number of car parking spaces at the airport by four hundred. Mr Pratung is also quoted as saying &ldquoI will organize the limousine taxis and illegal taxi operations and get them back on track.”  which will certainly be welcome news for tourists arriving at the airport.

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