Phuket International Airport General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo announced the news earlier this week during an event held to mark the 31st anniversary of AoT, and its precursor Airports Authority of Thailand, operating Phuket Airport. (See story here.)
Mr Thanee explained that Transport Minister Thaworn Senneam had ordered the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) and Airports of Thailand (AoT) to review the dedicated arrival-departure slots at all airports to make room for new airlines.
Mr Taworn conducted an inspection of Phuket Airport late last month, during which he noted that among the problems that needed to address was that “Phuket Airport needs to increase the frequency of hourly flights to accommodate the increase in the number of flights and tourists”.
“Slots where operators are no longer operating flights will be reclaimed, and those airlines will be subjected to penalties as well,” Mr Thanee announced earlier this week, reported ManagerOnline. (See story here.).
Mr Thanee pointed out that many operators were no longer using their dedicated arrival-departure slots. As an example, he explained that one airline had discontinued flights after the Phoenix tour boat disaster last year, that killed 47 Chinese tourists.
“They stopped operating flights here and did not file for cancellation of their dedicated slot,” he said.
Airlines that have ceased using their dedicated slots but wanted to keep them for future flights could file a request with the CAAT, Mr Thanee explained.
Reclaiming unused slots will be beneficial for the island’s tourism industry and economy by making room for new airlines to start flights to Phuket, he added.
Airlines from India, Siberia and Europe that have already filed requests for arrival-departure slots will be considered and allocated slots where possible, he said.
Mr Thanee pointed out that time was running for the slots to be allocated.
“From Oct 27, Phuket airport will start operating according to its tourism high season schedule, and we we are looking to help bring more tourists to Phuket,” he said.