PHUKET TOWN: Phuket International Airport is expected to increase its profit by 1.4% this year despite the Sars crisis, a gathering to mark the airport’s 15th anniversary heard on Wednesday. Lt Cdr Boonchart Prompoon, Director of the Airports Authority of Thailand, Phuket, said that revenue for the first eight months of this year was 784 million baht, well on track to exceed last year’s total revenue of 817 million baht. Profits for 2003 are projected to be a whopping 543 million baht, up from 535 million baht in 2002. Increased flight traffic for the coming high season and cost-cutting measures of between 10% and 30% across all areas of the airport’s operation will help to keep profit margins healthy, he explained at the Phuket Merlin Hotel in Phuket Town. “Profit is quite good considering the effects of Sars in April and May,” he said. “If there was no Sars, I think income would be increasing more rapidly. The extended runway to take larger international aircraft, seen by some experts as a key to the speed of growth of the island’s economy, will not be constructed until 2006 or later. During 2003-2006, about 400 million baht will be spent to expand the area for international departures from 320 square meters to 1,300 sqm, to add two more docking aprons for A300 airplanes and to make improvements to six existing docking aprons. The cargo area will also be expanded.
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