Mr Monchai was speaking to the media yesterday (Oct 8) after a merit-making ceremony on the occasion of the 34th anniversary operations at Phuket International Airport . The anniversary was celebrated under the slogan "Prime Destination through Secondary Hub Airport". Representatives from various government agencies and the private sector joined the event.
Mr Monchai said that the improvement in the COVID-19 situation resulted in growing numbers of flights and passengers served by Phuket International Airport.
In January-August this year 849,406 passengers went through the airport, the number of flight arrivals and departures totaled 9,167, he said.
Mr Monchai also confirmed that three Russian airlines have notified Phuket International Airport about their readiness to fly to and from Phuket performing at least two flights per day. Mr Monchai did not name the companies.
The Phuket News’ sister paper Novosti Phuketa earlier reported that Russia’s flag-carrier Aeroflot confirmed two regular flights per day from Oct 30 and IKAR Airlines announced an unspecified number of flights from Oct 29. Russia’s S7 Airlines announced flights to Bangkok from Nov 2 (five flights per week), yet it is not clear if S7 going to be the third Russian carrier to fly to Phuket.
Mr Monchai forecasts passenger traffic through Phuket International Airport will reach 13 million people next year. In 2019 the airport recorded its historical maximum of 18mn.
“After 34 years of operations the Phuket International Airport is ready to continue to develop and drive constant changes for good including taking care of the community and the environment alongside its aviation business. We are ready to step into our 35th year of quality operations, building confidence in passengers and satisfying clients under the motto ’Safety is the standard. Service is the heart’,” the airport said.
Mr Monchai admitted that airport faces challenges and sometimes experiences problems such as the recent emergency repairs of the runway resulting in flight delays and diversions.
Mr Monchai did not mention the most recent incident when the airport came under fire after security personnel forced two tourists to leave the taxi they ordered via an app because the car was not from a cooperative listed among the airport’s partners.