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Phuket airport handles rush hour arrivals

PHUKET: Immigration officers had to open all passport control counters at Phuket International Airport and speed up their work to the maximum yesterday morning (Feb 25) when seven flights landed one after another on the island.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 26 February 2023, 08:00AM

Some 1,450 passengers from abroad passed immigration checks within 40 minutes, reports Phuket Info Center. The rush hour happened at around 10am.

FlightRadar24 lists exactly seven flights that should have landed from 9.50am through 10.25am according to the schedule for Feb 25. These were fligts MH786 from Kuala Lumpur; EO3515 from Novosibirsk; AY151 from Helsinki; TR658 from Singapore; 6E1914 from Mumbai; SU274 from Moscow; UO724 from Hong Kong.

Yet the actual arrivals registered by FlightRadar24’s give a different list of flights which landed around 10am, namely from 9.23am through 10.26am. They include flights MH786 from Kuala Lumpur; AY151 from Helsinki; TR658 from Singapore; 6E1914 from Mumbai; UO724 from Hong Kong; SQ728 from Singapore; G841 from Bengaluru.

Phuket Info Center stopped posting daily arrival reports based on Immigration Bureau statistics, thus it is not possible to say how many passengers in total went through immigration control at Phuket International Airport on Feb 25. The daily average for Jan 1 – Feb 14 stood at around 11,486 passengers from abroad.

Top source markets for the aforementioned period included:

Internal - Phuket Live Radio 89.5
  • Russia – 153,449 passengers;
  • India – 33,873;
  • Kazakhstan – 33,756;
  • UK – 24,987;
  • China – 24,451.

Local carriers upbeat

Airlines are optimistic about recovery this year, with an expansion of services to China being a key driver, following a significant improvement in 2022, particularly during the fourth quarter, Bangkok Post reported, having talked to executives from Thai AirAsia and Bangkok Airways.

Thai AirAsia’s passenger target for this year has been set at 20 million, double the tally of 9.95mn recorded in 2022 and closer to the 22.2mn passengers registered in 2019.

The fourth quarter last year was the first time in 11 quarters that AirAsia secured positive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, totalling 1.62 billion baht. During that period, domestic capacity resumed to 90% of the pre-pandemic level, while capacity on international routes was 49%.

Bangkok Airways also reported strong passenger numbers in 2022, with 2.7mn people on its 29,892 flights, representing increases of 395% and 244%, respectively, year-on-year. Though the firm reported an operating loss of 889mn baht, it was 64.9% lower than the loss recorded in 2021.

Phuket International Airport is expected to release its flight schedule for March next week. The document, if publicly available, will tell how many Chinese carriers have resumed flying to Phuket so far and will give valuable clues on what to expect in the coming weeks.

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Taswegian | 26 February 2023 - 11:15:34

It would be nice if at least after standing for ages in the queue, the officials would acknowledge a smile or even a friendly greeting (in Thai). LOS should start at the airport.

JohnC | 26 February 2023 - 09:10:54

Bit of a change from earlier times when there would be massive queues waiting at only 3-4 open counters while many other immigration officials seemed to be standing around chatting or playing with their phones occasionally looking to see if they were needed at all. Pity these people have never had to stand in their own queues to experience the frustration of waiting unnecessarily.


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