Airport passenger throughput falls

PHUKET: In a sharp reversal of recent trends, passenger throughput at Phuket International Airport during February was down by 2.3% compared with the same month last year, according to figures released by airport officials. The number of people arriving or departing on domestic flights was, at 213,755, almost the same as last year. But the number of people using the airport for international flights fell to 132,424, a drop of 5.72%. The decline in the number of international passengers is not unexpected, as the number of international flights to and from Phuket has declined by a similar percentage. What is surprising, however, is the domestic travel figure. The number of flights connecting Phuket with other parts of Thailand has increased by about 25% since last February, and in previous months the number of passengers has shown consistent growth. Yet in February, there was zero growth compared with February 2000. Anuphap Teerarat, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Region 4, admitted that he found the numbers puzzling. “It is impossible that there are fewer tourists coming to Phuket than before,” he said, adding that he will be checking the central TAT database in Bangkok and the Immigration records to see whether they show some change that could explain the puzzle. Cargo shipments continued their trend of lagging behind last year’s figures. In February shipments totaled 1,625 tons, 28.13% less than in February 2000.

Phuket News
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