Upgrades planned for Phuket airport

Phuket International Airport is getting a five-billion baht face lift to make room for millions more passengers each year.

Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) is planning to invest the money in an upgraded domestic terminal, new international terminal, and more taxiways.

These changes would allow Phuket's airport to fly in 11.5 million passengers each year, up from the current 6.5 million. Airports of Thailand hopes this could happen as early as 2010.

The renovations are intended to help ease congestion at the country's second busiest airport. Tourists often complain during the high season from late October to April.

The number of passengers coming to Phuket rose to 5.47 million last year, 22.6% higher than in the previous year. Aircraft movements rose 32.3% to 38,386.

A budget has been has been set out for the construction, and design work is under way. However, there are no plans to extend the airports single 3,000 metre runway.