Phuket’s new airport terminal opens

But overcrowding and taxi mafias are still problems
Following several delays to its completion and months of systems checks and test runs, Phuket International Airport’s new passenger terminal was finally opened on Friday.
The new four-floor, 73,100sqm terminal is part of the airport’s 5.7 billion baht (€147 million) expansion plan. The airport is connected by 46 airlines to more than 37 destinations.
With the new terminal, the airport’s passenger handling capacity effectively doubled from 6.5 million to 12.5 million. But it still appears to be too small.
According to operator Airports of Thailand, Phuket served 13.7 million passengers and 87,409 flights from October 2015 to August 2016, a respective increase of 17% and 16%, respectively, from the same 11-month period a year earlier.
Overcrowding has been a problem for years. In 2013, authorities commissioned a temporary terminal in an effort to ease lines.
Meanwhile, the old terminal will be turned into a domestic facility following extensive renovations.
During the opening ceremony of the new terminal, Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha stressed the need to also eliminate taxi mafias from Phuket and other airports in the country. Illegally operated taxis are an issue at many Thai airports.
Bangkok Post / TTG Asia


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