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Flights and passenger numbers slowly rising in Phuket Sandbox



PHOTO: At Phuket International Airport, international flights are increasing slowly. (via PhuketTaxiAndTransfer)

As we enter day 4 of the Phuket Sandbox reopening, while numbers aren’t anywhere near earlier estimates or historical totals, they are steadily growing day by day. Each day has brought a few more flights and passenger numbers to Phuket and the arrivals are steadily creeping up. By today, the original first-day estimate of 1,500 arrivals, should be surpassed.

Today’s arrivals are underway, with the Thai Airways’ London flight landing first this morning at 6.07 am. It had been estimated to have sold about 150 seats, but the number of travellers who arrived and are staying in Phuket has not been confirmed yet. Similarly, Thai Airways’ flight from Zurich landed an hour late at 7.08 am and had been predicted to be carrying around 50 passengers. Alongside Thai Airways flights, Singapore Airlines brought a morning flight to Phuket as well, arriving at 9.11 am, but with no data on the number of passengers.

Etihad was supposed to land at 10:20 from Abu Dhabi, but the flight is delayed and currently estimated to land at 11:13 am this morning. That flight will be followed by an Emirates flight from Dubai landing at 12:45 pm, and the Doha-originating Qatar Airways flight landing around 1:45 pm. Both of those flights are currently running 15 minutes behind schedule.

That rounds out today’s international flight, and with 6 international flights, landing in the 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, and 1 o’clock hour, and of course, many delayed flights, the Phuket International Airport schedule is starting to look a lot busier than it has been.

Passenger totals will be updated as they become available, but the flights landing are obviously far less packed than pre-Covid days.

And while traffic picking up at the airport is certainly a welcome site, weekly arrivals and departures are down 94% from the same week just 2 years ago, before the Covid-19 pandemic pancaked tourism and international travel.

Today there are 32 flights on the schedule to arrive into Phuket International Airport, the majority coming from Bangkok. In 2020, 30 flights arrived and departed from Phuket on July 4, but in 2019 the number of arrivals and departures was 290 flights.

During peak season, as many as 330 flights would pass through Phuket’s airport each day. While Thailand still has a long way to go with exponentially less air traffic now, the slow build of international flights and travellers is a welcome sight.

SOURCE: FlightAware


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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