The first phase of Phuket's renovated domestic terminal will open just in time for the upcoming holidays, Phuket International Airport General Manager Petch Chancharoen said at a press conference on Monday (Oct 9).
Most of the construction work has been completed and all of the building's systems are now being tested so that it can open on Nov 28, as the high season for tourism begins, he told reporters at the event held in celebration of the airport's 29th anniversary, the Phuket Gazette reported.
Work on the second phase is also expected to begin next month and be completed by June next year.
"This coming high season, we have about 300 flights per day landing in Phuket with an estimated 50,000 passengers, every day. There are 52 airlines in the airport, including 8 domestic, 36 international and 8 private airlines," the Gazette reported Mr Petch saying.
" Compared to the number of passengers arriving at the same time last year, we'll have a 10 per cet increase and we estimate that it will grow by another 7.2% next year as well."
The plan is to boost the airport's capacity to 18 million passengers annually from about 15 million at present, stretching its current capacity of only 12.5 million, he added.
The Airport Authority of Thailand has earmarked 200 billion Baht ($8.2 billion). The next phase will add up to five more boarding bays, a pier building and an aerobridge connecting the domestic and international terminals as well as parking in front of domestic terminal.
"We are also preparing to be rated by the Airport Council International (ACI) as we have done some safety plan rehearsals to train the people working in the airport to be ready for any emergency situations," Mr Petch said. "Apart from that, we also care and support the surrounding communities of the airport."
Phuket International is Thailand's second busiest after Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport. It is expected to bring in 5.7 billion Baht this year, up 16 per cent increase from last year and hit the 6 billion Baht next year when the first renovations are completed.