Phuket's Airport Final Upgrade Starts
Phuket International Airport is moving on with the renovation of its old passenger terminal as the final stage of it’s 5.14 billion baht upgrade. The upgrade of the old terminal commenced in earnest this week for completion in 330 days, Monrudee Gettuphan, Phuket airport's general manager, said.
Today's commencement follows the opening of a newly-built passenger terminal on 16 September which has provided facilities that have significantly reduced congestion at Thailand's third busiest airport. Mrs Monrudee said the renovation of the old terminal will be carried out in two stages that will involve partial closure as the work progresses.
The first phase calls for closure of levels 1, 2 and 3 in the domestic passenger section in the southern wing for structural improvements and architectural work which will take 236 days to complete. The second stage involves renovation of levels 1, 2 and 3 in the international passenger section in the northern wing, which are estimated to take a further five and a half months. Once all the work is completed, a further 3 weeks will be spent commissioning the entire system.
When completed, the renovated passenger terminal will be dedicated to handling domestic passengers while the new terminal will specifically serve international traffic. The renovated terminal will be capable of processing 7.5 million domestic passengers a year while the new terminal can handle 5 million international passengers. The renovation of the old terminal will take the minority portion of total project costs which went to building the new terminal and associated facilities by Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, the project's main contractor. Mrs Monrudee said though overcrowding at the airport has been largely relieved since the new terminal went into operation, long queues at passport control are still being experienced due to the shortage of immigration officers. The departure section has been equipped with 34 service channels and 38 for arrival, but only 11-15 officers are regularly on duty at each end. The board of directors of Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), which operates the country's six major airports, recently agreed to provide support to the Immigration Bureau to deal with the problem, she said.
Traffic at Phuket airport soared by 19.6% in the first nine months to 11.3 million, according to AoT data.