The overload was created by flights rescheduled to arrive in Phuket outside the hours when workers were carrying out repairs to the runway and an area near a taxiway, Sumpan Kutranoon, Deputy General Manager of the Phuket International Airport, told The Phuket News today (Feb 27).
The repairs were decided on Sunday evening, and saw the runway closed to all takeofffs and landings from 2am to 7am yesterday and today. (See story here.)
As a result, a total of 75 flights were rescheduled yesterday, with another 59 flights rescheduled today.
“The period of overcrowding has passed, it was only temporary,” Mr Sumpan said.
“Flights had to be rescheduled while the runway was under repair, was took five hours both yesterday and today,” he added.
The rescheduled flights resulted in a crush of passengers arriving in quick succession, causing long queues of passengers waiting to clear immigration, Mr Sumpan explained.
“Immigration officials worked the best they could. They took only 45 seconds to clear each person. That is the best we can manage in clearing each passenger.
“I know it was inconvenient, but the long queues were only in the morning. The repairs to the runway were completed by 6am today, and everything was back to normal by 10am,” he added.
Mr Sumpan noted that the repairs and the ensuing delays were necessary.
“Safety is our first priority. We could not wait until April to have this done. We don’t want to risk any possibility of an accident,” he said.
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong was continually updated of the situation through the Public relations Department this morning, Mr Sumpan added.