AirAsia check-in desks were the first to open, at 3:30am, for passengers boarding Flight FD3042, which lifted off the tarmac at Phuket Airport at 5:37am and touched down at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok at 7:01am.
“The check-in counters commenced full services at midnight,” confirmed one AoT staffer at Phuket Airport, who refused to be named.
“The first flight to arrive at the terminal also arrived this morning,” she added.
Airport General Manager Petch Chancharoen revealed to the press during a tour of the newly refurbished terminal last Thursday (Nov 23) that the building would commence full services, including its first arrival this morning at 6am today. (See story here).
“Phase 1 will be concluded by the time the first flights from Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia arrive at approximately 6am on Nov 28, and then Phase 2, in the north of the airport, will begin renovation, which is expected to be complete by June 2018,” Mr Petch told the press.
The new domestic passenger terminal will accommodate both inbound and outbound passengers, and passengers will be comfortable with the space of the new check-in hall which now has 22 check-in counters, he added.
“There is also be an expanded hallway to accommodate increased passenger traffic, and new public utilities in the passenger terminals.
Outbound passengers can check-in on the second floor and arrivals can be welcomed on the first floor. Car parking for personal vehicles is available at the front the domestic passenger terminal, or, at the five-storey car park building which will connect to the domestic terminal with a walkway, Mr Petch added.
Work on the renovations, originally contracted to take 330 days, began on Nov 1 last year. However, within one week Airports of Thailand (AoT) announced through a notice on Nov 7, 2016 that the project would take 406 days – 256 days to complete Phase 1 (to close Levels 1, 2 and 3 on the south side of the terminal for renovations); and 150 days to complete Phase 2 (to close Levels 1, 2and 3 on the north side to improve all airport systems). (See story here.)
The renovations are being carried out under a B5.14-billion expansion of the country’s third-busiest airport – and the busiest outside of Bangkok – including the new International Terminal which opened on Sept 16 last year, built at a cost of B2.45bn.