Phuket International Airport has forecast that it will reach up to 30,000 passengers per day during the upcoming high season. While its Russian and Chinese markets may be faltering, Phuket airport has averaged more than 10,000 daily arrivals so far in October.
Phuket airport braces for seasonal boom
Phuket International Airport (HKT) expects to reach around 30,000 daily passengers by November as Thailand enters its peak tourist season. The airport recently welcomed its highest number of overseas visitors since 2020 after nearly 6,000 travelers arrived from overseas on October 1.
That figure is expected to rise to between 12,000 and 14,000 international passengers every day next month, helped by Thailand’s decision to lift its remaining COVID restrictions.
Phuket airport handled 850,000 travelers between January and August. Photo: Getty Images
Phuket Airport General Manager Monchai Tanode told the Bangkok Post:
“In high season, the number of passengers could reach 30,000 people per day, of which 16,000 to 18,000 are domestic passengers and the rest international passengers.”
Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, owes around 80% of its economy to tourism as a popular destination for domestic and international travellers.
International service to resume
Several international carriers are expected to resume service to Thailand in the coming weeks. As Simple Flying reported, Russian airline Aeroflot will resume daily service to Phuket on October 30, while Pegasus Airlines and Myanmar Airlines will also serve the airport this winter.
Phuket airport general manager Monchai Tanode has revealed that three Russian carriers are ready to launch flights to Phuket, adding that two unnamed Scandinavian airlines may also return this winter. As for Chinese airlines, Tanode says they could resume operations before the end of the year.
Aeroflot returns to Phuket this month and may be joined by other Russian airlines. Photo: Airbus
Prior to the COVID pandemic, Chinese airlines accounted for between 20% and 30% of all airlines operating at HKT. Additionally, tourism data shows that Chinese visitors were the biggest spenders in Phuket in 2019, demonstrating the importance of the market to the Thai economy.
Russians were also a key demographic for Phuket before the conflict in Ukraine led to a drastic reduction in the number of Russian visitors. In January, 24,000 of the 133,000 international arrivals were Russians, twice as many as the next largest group (Germany).
Thailand attracted more than five million international travelers between January and September this year, a significant drop from the 13.7 million foreign visitors during the same period in 2019. However, the country expects to exceed the 10 million international visitors by the end of 2022.
34th anniversary of HKT
Phuket International Airport celebrated 34 years of operation this week. Airports of Thailand (AoT) has listed Phuket International Airport as an official secondary hub for Thailand, one rank below the primary hubs of Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport.
Despite the airport’s recent resurgence, deputy manager Kanyarat Suttipattanakit revealed that it was still operating at a loss due to fewer inbound flights. However, the airport’s plans for next year call for 88,034 flights carrying around 13 million passengers to Phuket as it strives to reach pre-pandemic levels.
Do you have any trips to Phuket International Airport (HKT) coming up? Let us know your travel plans in the comments.
Source: The Bangkok Post