AOT shelves Phang Nga airport viability study for now
The preliminary feasibility study for Phang Nga Airport will be put on hold until the management of three provincial airports is handed over to the Airports of Thailand (AOT).
A source said on Friday that a study on the viability of Phang Nga Airport will only begin once the Cabinet has approved the transfer of Udon Thani, Buri Ram and Krabi airports to AOT.
The transfer aims to maximise efficiency in commercial operations and the Cabinet is expected to give it a green light by December or January.
The airports are currently under the management of the Transport Ministry’s Department of Airports.
AOT initially planned to launch a preliminary feasibility study for an airport in Phang Nga province this year. Some 20 million baht has been allocated for the study, which includes the exploration of 8,000 rai (1,280 hectares) of land in the southern province’s Takua Thung district.
The source said the Phang Nga project has been put on hold because the proposed location is not too far from Krabi Airport.
“If a study is conducted before Krabi Airport is transferred to AOT, it will become irrelevant if there is a change in Krabi Airport’s administration policy after management has been shifted,” the source said. “Therefore, the AOT has agreed to postpone the study until the transfer has been approved by the Cabinet.”
The source added that once Krabi Airport is transferred to AOT, it will start looking into expanding the runway and building new terminals for domestic and international passengers. This expansion will most likely affect the number of passengers landing in Phang Nga.
The source said that though no land needs to be expropriated for the Phang Nga airport because all 8,000 rai is owned by the Treasury Department, people living near the area will be affected by sound pollution. The AOT will compensate those affected as per Cabinet stipulations, the source said.