Phangnga airport study ‘must carry on’
The Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee (JPPSCC) in the Andaman provinces has urged Airports of Thailand (AoT) to continue its feasibility study on Phangnga Airport.
A meeting of the JPPSCC in the Andaman provinces of Krabi, Trang, Phangnga, Phuket, Ranong and Satun was held recently to continue talks with Phuket Airport after the AoT decided to defer the project.
Jaran Pandang, deputy director of Phuket Airport, said the AoT’s policy, planning and budget committee decided to defer the plan to build Phangnga airport because the AoT must abide by a cabinet resolution from August 2022.
The cabinet ordered the AoT to oversee the management of Udon Thani, Buri Ram and Krabi international airports and suspended the plan to build an airport in Phangnga.
The AoT received an 11-million-baht budget in November 2020 for a preliminary feasibility study for the airport.
The terms of reference were set in May 2021. The investment needed is around 100 billion baht and the airport could be complete in 2027. But the project has been suspended since last year.
Lertsak Ponklin, president of the Phangnga Tourism Association, urged the JPPSCC to ask the AoT to keep the project going as it could take up to 10 years to build the airport.
Phuket airport has reached its full capacity of 14 million passengers a year. If it is expanded, it can handle up to 17 million, still below its peak period when it handled about 18 million passengers prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. “I cannot imagine when the economy picks up and when it is high season, how crowded Phuket airport will be. So, we need to prepare,” Mr Jaran said.