Airports of Thailand’s 70-billion baht plan for new airport in Phang Nga province takes off
Airports of Thailand (AoT) is progressing with a 70 billion baht plan to construct an airport in Phang Nga, located north of Phuket, to cater to the growing tourist influx to the Andaman region. This information was shared by AoT President Keerati Kitmanawat, as he responded to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisiin’s recent visit to Chiang Mai to deliberate on the building of a new airport in Lamphun province. This is aimed at easing the air traffic at Chiang Mai International Airport.
The development of these two new airports is part of the Andaman-Lamphun project, with AoT allocating 140 billion baht (US$3,873,000,000) to this initiative. Each airport is projected to cost 70 billion baht. The objective is to enhance tourism to Chiang Mai and the Phuket region, through the creation of two new airports – one in Lamphun and the other in Khok Kloi, Phang Nga.
Keerati confirmed that AoT will initiate another feasibility study, inclusive of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) requirements, before the year ends. The research is anticipated to take eight months. Post its completion, the project will proceed to the design phase of investment specifics, such as area boundaries, construction methods, budget, and an EIA report.
The project will then be submitted to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB) for approval, before being presented to the Cabinet for consideration. The detailed design process and approval request are estimated to take three years before the project is opened to bidding. The airport’s construction will approximately take four years, reported The Phuket News.
The entire procedure is expected to last seven years, with hopes that the airport in Khok Kloi will be operational to serve tourists by 2030-2031.
Keerati also highlighted that currently, Phuket Airport caters to roughly 12 million passengers annually, while Krabi Airport serves 5 million passengers, totalling a demand for the two airports to serve 17 million tourists each year. The travel demand to Phuket, Krabi, and Phang Nga provinces is on an upward trend.
“There is an urgent need to hasten the construction of the Andaman Airport.”
He also noted that the flight times at Phuket Airport are fully booked, and the support is insufficient. The new airport will initially have two runways for better aircraft accommodation and will be capable of handling 40 million passengers annually.
Despite the anticipated 70 billion baht costs of the airport, AoT will be the sole investor due to its sufficient cash flow. The new airport’s construction will be split into two phases, with the first phase allowing the airport to serve 15 million passengers annually.
Keerati added that AoT had initially examined the construction site for Phuket Airport No. 2 and found a suitable location in Khok Kloi Subdistrict in Phang Nga Province. The site spans about 6,000 rai, with most of the land already owned by the government.
“This area will be utilised to build the Andaman Airport.”
It’s noteworthy that the decision to proceed with the new airport in Phang Nga has yet to be publicly confirmed by PM Srettha, the Cabinet, and the new Minister for Tourism and Sports, Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol.
AoT itself has not verified the news through its public platforms. According to the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT), PM Srettha’s visit to Chiang Mai and discussions with Chiang Mai airport and tourism officials were solely centred on the new airport to be established in Lamphun.