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Phuket Airport readies for Songkran rush

PHUKET: The chief of Phuket International Airport (PIA) has asked travellers to allow up to three hours for their journey to make sure they catch their flights during the Songkran festivities, which start in earnest tomorrow (Apr 13).

By The Phuket News

Friday 12 April 2019, 10:50AM

A woman exits the Domestic Terminal at Phuket International Airport. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A woman exits the Domestic Terminal at Phuket International Airport. Photo: The Phuket News / file

The news comes as the airport braces for more than 65,000 travellers arriving and departing on some 330 flights each day during the long weekend, PIA General Manager Thanee Chuangchoo explained yesterday (Apr 11) during a ceremony to announce ramped up measures to cope with the extra load of travellers.

However, Mr Thanee noted that the passenger traffic forecast for this Songkran was down slightly on last year.

“The airport will not be so crowded at both the arrivals and departure areas as we will have fewer passengers this year,” Mr Thanee said.

“Last year we had about 70,000 passengers per day,” Mr Thanee said.

Officers had been stationed throughout the airport to handle the boosted passenger traffic, Mr Thanee added.

“They will be on hand 24 hours to make it more convenient for both Thai and foreign passengers this Songkran,” he said.

Immigration counters had also been bolstered to handle the extra load, he noted.

“Clearing immigration is expected to be very fast, not more than 20 minutes,” Mr Thanee said.

Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand (AoT) has announced that it expects passenger traffic to surge past last year’s figures.

AoT manages six major airports in Thailand, including Phuket International Airport. The other five are Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan, Don Mueang in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hat Yai in Songkhla and Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai.

In a statement issued yesterday, AoT President Nitinai Siriratikarn said that more than 3.21 million passengers, or an average of about 458,400 people per day, will pass through the six airports from today through next Wednesday (Apr 11-17).

The passenger throughput this year marked an increase of 12.3% compared with the same period last year, he said.

During the holidays there will be approximately 18,460 flights, or an average of 2,640 flights per day, which marked 6.1% increase on last year, Mr Nitinai added.

Many Thai and foreign people travel throughout the country during the Songkran Festival each, Mr Nitinai noted.

However, Mr Nitinai added, “The situation of PM 2.5 small dust particles currently covering the northern part of Thailand has not yet affected air traffic volume to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, but if the situation does not improve it may result in tourists turning to travel to other regions instead.

“This may result in a decrease in the number of tourists overall during the Songkran Festival,” he said.

Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub



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