New airport planned for Phangnga to serve southern tourism

A new international airport in Phangnga province will serve Thailand’s southwestern beach paradise zone, Airports of Thailand Plc., announced last week. The facility will be completed in 2025 and help relieve congestion at Phuket and Krabi airports.

The three provinces are sometimes referred to as the “Andaman Triangle” because they border the Andaman Sea.  The triangle is the most popular destination for those seeking beautiful beaches along Thailand’s western coast. The island of Phuket has long been the Kingdom’s premier beach resort.

Phuket International Airport’s capacity is being challenged, however, by the steady rise in arrivals in recent years. Last year, the airport handled 8.4 million passengers, and Krabi International Airport welcomed 4.2 million passengers.

Phangnga lies just north of Phuket and is connected to the island resort province by a bridge. An international airport in Phangnga would give Phuket and Krabi airports breathing room as they undergo expansions while giving visitors another option on where to land. Phangnga and its island of Khao Lak are also home to several white-sand beaches and luxury resorts.

According to Airports of Thailand (AoT), the plan to build Phangnga International Airport has been approved in principle for 2019-2023, with a budget of around $2 million.

The AoT will also invest in upgrading Krabi airport along with airports in southeastern Surat Thai province and northeastern Buriram province. Krabi Airport’s capacity will rise to 8 million passengers a year once complete. AoT estimates the total investment to upgrade the three airports at $365 million.

Over $22.5 million will be spent to build a new terminal at Buriram Airport, doubling its capacity to 1.7 million passengers per year. Tourism in the province is growing because of sports. Buriram is home to Buriram United, the Kingdom’s most popular and successful soccer team, and a Formula 1 level auto racing track.