Airport boss uneasy over zero landing fees

PHUKET (Gazette/The Nation): The Director of Phuket International Airport has expressed reservations over a proposal to waive landing fees until the end of this year in an attempt to boost post-tsunami tourism.

Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Thepsuthin told reporters last week that lifting landing fees at Phuket and Krabi airports could help in the recovery of tourism in the two provinces and the rest of the Andaman region.

The two airports charge between 60,000 and 120,000 baht a landing, depending on the size of the aircraft.

But Phuket International Airport Director Sq/Ldr Pornchai Eua-aree told the Gazette he was uneasy about the proposal, because it was not yet clear how it would be implemented.

He said: “Will it be like Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Malaysia, which waives fees for certain airlines – the ones that start flying into KLIA or increase the number of flights to the airport?

“Which airlines would be exempt at Phuket? How would this affect the income of the airport authorities? I don’t think it’s a good idea right now.”

Since the tsunami, the number of flights to Phuket has slumped to 35 a week, compared with 192 during the low season last year. Ten charter companies have suspended services to the island.

K. Somsak said he wanted the airports to waive the fee until the end of this year; he did not say when the Cabinet was expected to consider the proposal.

Phuket News

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