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Environment Impact study for Phuket Airport expansion underway



MAI KHAO, PHUKET: Government officers, airport officials and representatives of a consulting firm met late last month to discuss progress on the three-month environmental impact assessment (EIA) now underway on the planned 5-billion-baht expansion of Phuket International Airport.

Maj Kamon Wongsombun, director of the Airports of Thailand (AOT) Development and Planning Division, started off with an overview of the project, work on which is set to begin in early 2010 and finish in 2014.

The expansion, to increase the airport’s passenger transit capacity to 12.5 million passengers per year, has been divided into four main work groups.

Group one work involves building a new parking area for planes away from the main terminal, doubling the number of taxiway lanes from four to eight, as well as expanding refueling bays and other aircraft service and maintenance facilities.

Group two work involves the design and construction of a new 52,000-square-meter international terminal with of capacity  5 million passengers annually. The existing terminal will be redesigned as a domestic terminal capable of serving 7.5 million domestic passengers annually.

The international terminal will be located to the west of the existing terminal, in the area currently occupied by airport office buildings and warehousing. Group two work also includes the construction of a replacement 4,800-square-meter operations and office building and multi-storey parking garage with spaces for 1,000 vehicles. These facilities are scheduled to open in 2012.

Group three work involves the construction of another 5,000-square-meter multi-purpose building to the east of the existing terminal to house new offices, warehousing and other facilities.

Group four work, in the area currently occupied by the main parking lot, involves the construction of new access roads, a small electric sub-station, a new water supply plant, waste collection and wastewater treatment facilities.

Nitcharee Promwisuttipon, project manager of Bangkok-based SEATEC Consulting Engineers said the three-month study will be concluded by the end of March.

The 1.3-million-baht EIA includes factors such as air quality, sound levels, water quality, aquatic ecology, land use, transport, public utilities and waste management. Effects on the local community will also be considered.

When the study is completed in March, a meeting will be held and recommendations to minimize negative environmental impacts will be suggested and discussed.


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