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From the PG today:

Phuket Airport to get VIP terminal for private jets

Phuket International Airport. Gazette file photo.

MAI KHAO, PHUKET: The new director of Phuket International Airport has confirmed a plan to establish a new terminal for private jets to accommodate “VIP” passengers.

Pratuang Sornkham officially took over as head of Phuket International Airport on May 12, then flew back to Airports of Thailand (AOT) headquarters in Bangkok to receive orders on a wide range of development plans for the airfield, the busiest in Thailand after Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

Mr Pratuang’s arrival in Phuket was marked with a “Nice to Meet You” dinner at the Royal Phuket City hotel on May 12.

He said he will continue all of the policies of his predecessor, Wicha Nernlop, who will take up a new position at AOT headquarters in the capital.

In February this year, AOT announced it would invest 5 billion baht in the expansion of the airport in order to bring its capacity up to 11.5 million passengers by the year 2016 – an increase of 77% over current capacity.

Mr Pratuang confirmed a report in an aviation industry newsletter that Hong Kong-based ASA Group has been granted permission by AOT to develop Thailand’s first VIP terminal for private jets at the airport.

“We handle so many private flights into Bangkok and Phuket, so the time is right to cater for our growing client base of VIP visitors who have nowhere in the airport to go once they disembark,” the report quoted ASA representative Simon Wagstaff as saying at the May 14-16 European Business Aviation Convention in Geneva, Switzerland .

Services offered will include aircraft handling, charters, security, in-flight catering and over-flight and landing clearances, it was reported.

Mr Pratuang said the project is appropriate for the airport due to the growing number of businessmen and VIPs flying in to Phuket aboard private jets, but he admitted he knew little about the details and would need to study the project plan.

The new post is a big step up for Mr Pratuang, who spent the last five years as director of Chiang Rai Airport, which only had 5,419 flight movements in 2008 compared to 37,991 in Phuket.

His first task is to repair or replace two escalators inside the main terminal that have been out of order for nearly a year, he said.

He will also prioritize moving the wreckage of One-Two-Go Flight 269, which is still sitting in a field at the end of the runway.

“This ruins an otherwise beautiful sea view and brings back to memory the tragic accident that happened here in 2007,” he said.

Mr Pratuang said he has already been ordered by Transport Minister Sopon Zarum to improve links between the airport and Phuket City, which are a constant source of complaints from tourists.

“I have been ordered to rectify the situation quickly, so I will meet with airport officials and the Phuket governor in order to find a way out of the problem,” he said.

“I will organize the limousine taxis and illegal taxi operations and get them back on track,” he said optimistically.

Aggressive touting for passengers by drivers and other people working the various transport groups at the airport has to stop, he said.

“Phuket Airport has a clear policy that the taxi people must stay in their ticketing booths. We will no longer allow them to go outside their booths and accost people. This is something I plan to monitor very closely,” he said.

Also in the works is a plan to increase by 400 the number of parking spaces for passengers’ cars, he said.

– Kamol Pirat

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-- Phuket Gazette

I'm particularly interested in his proposal for organising the limousine and taxi drivers, and the 400 space increase in parking spaces (hopefully this will mean a 2 tier parking facility, with shade being provided at lower level, and taxis/limousines excluded from using this level!). Generally, Phuket is not a bad airport to pass through, and internally is well signposted, and the airport staff generally helpful. Some of the security arrangements are questionable, i.e. if you go through the second floor departures, your luggage is x-ray screened before gaining entry, but there is nothing to stop you going into the first floor arrivals level, and taking the lift up directly into the departures check in area with no security checks at all! Service, lip, paying, spring to mind.

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I can confirm that we have been negotiating with AOT for several months and that we recently reached an agreement. We plan to start developing in the next few weeks with a view to start operating by the end of June if possible.

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Really what volume of private jets fly into here ??

How much will be spent to satisfy how many ?? And who pays for it ??

Basic things dont get touched, but grand design ideas always get the go ahead..

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Really what volume of private jets fly into here ??

How much will be spent to satisfy how many ?? And who pays for it ??

Basic things dont get touched, but grand design ideas always get the go ahead..

I agree. Spending millions on a VIP terminal is totally out of order when there are much more pressing issues at the airport where money can be better spent. Surely the addition of a single VIP room would suffice & be much cheaper. Will the VIPs be charged a special service fee for their exclusive rights & if so what will happen with the proceeds?

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Phuket Airport has to be one of my top 5 places of "Places I hate going to on earth"

Be it arriving or departing the whole place is a dump and a mess. Nothing good about it and nothing to be done about it according to the report above.

Things they could do to improve it:

1. General referb of arrivals, departures, checkin and immergration

2. Make the stupid lifts work! put in more esculators also

3. Really need to address the immergration issue on departures. Have twice as many desks for peak times, it has taken an hour to get through before

4. Ditto point 3 for the arrivals

5. Get rid off all the taxi and hotel touts when you arrive. Very annoying.

6. Increase the carpark spaces

7. This is suppossed to be the land of smile, but no one working at this airport smiles, they are all rude

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Very surprised at all the negativity here. In response however I'd like to assure all that the development of the VIP facility will be at my own expense, not a part of the 5Bn Baht the government is spending, which I understand is being used purely to develop and improve the commercial facility.

I cannot divulge any further details of how the business will operate, this is private infomation held within my company.

VIP terminals and facilities are a common enough part of most major international airports, almost always funded and run by private companies such as mine. These already exist in places like Hong Kong, Macau, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, and many more throughout Asia - there are literally hundreds of them across USA and Europe.

The AOT and in particular Phuket Airport management have shown great foresight by developing Thailand's first FBO in Phuket.

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I didn't see too much negaivity. Everyone seems to admit a need to improve. If public funds were used there may well be higher priorities and this is how I read the initial post. If the terminal is fully privately funded ( construction operation and upkeep. it would seem to be a positive move.

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Apologies for using jargon earlier - "FBO" stands for "Fixed Base Operator". For those genuinely interested to know more just Google that term, or search Wiki as there is an article in there.

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5 billion baht upgrade, nice budget for some skimming, about 3 billion will be will be spent on the airport and 2 billion spent on fortuners and mia noi's

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