High season is starting this month in Phuket, and the airport is predicting up to 30,000 travellers per day. The increase in air traffic to the popular tourist destination coincides with the airport’s 34th anniversary. And to celebrate, passengers and flights – both domestic and international – are ramping up.
International carriers such as Aeroflot from Russia, Pegasus Airlines from Turkey, and Myanmar Airlines are planning to schedule more international flights, resuming pre-Covid routes. From October 30, Aeroflot will run two daily flights and Pegasus will operate three days a week with charter flights.
Bangkok Post reports that Phuket Airport’s general manager declared a steady increase in traffic between January and August as more and more restrictions were lifted for international travellers. They are expecting two Scandinavian Airlines to announce they will recommence flight services to Phuket.
The Phuket Airport has also been bestowed the title of an official secondary hub for Thailand. Bangkok’s two airports – Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport – are the only airports in a higher category. Airports of Thailand consider the country’s primary hubs.
So far this year, 849,406 travellers have passed through Phuket Airport on a total of 9,167 international and domestic flights. But the airport is forecasting a massive increase for 2023. They expect to see 88,034 flights running through Phuket bringing an estimated 13 million travellers. That huge number is slightly less than Phuket International Airport welcomed in 2019 just between January and September.
The airport manager believes that at the peak of the high season, between 16,000 and 18,000 domestic travellers will fly through Phuket. He expects another 12,000 to 14,000 international passengers each day. Since the beginning of October when the Ministry of Public Health lifted the remaining Covid restrictions for travel, Phuket International Airport has seen over 10,000 arrivals per day, a 2,600-person average daily increase over last month.
Despite all the good news though, the deputy director of Phuket Airport says that revenue is still negative. The airport is still operating at a loss, covering the cost of operation for the fewer flights arriving.
Numbers of passengers should hopefully see another big surge shortly when China finally relaunches their flight service after years of strict Covid regulations. Before the pandemic, in 2019, Chinese airline operators accounted for 20% to 30% of all airlines flying in and out of Phuket Airport.
Published by The Thaiger 9.10.2022