The total number of booked seats on planes arriving in Phuket from today (Feb 2) through to Feb 10 stands at 637,558, said Thanee Chuangchoo, General Manager of Phuket International Airport.
“International passengers account for 387,799, or about about 60%, of the bookings so far,” he said. “The remaining 249,759 are domestic passenger bookings,” he added.
“The number of passengers booked to arrive in Phuket during the Chinese New Year period this year is 4.18% higher than last year,” Mr Thanee said.
Last-minute bookings are expected to drive the average number of passengers during the period to 70,840 people per day, he added.
Most of those will be Chinese and Russians, Mr Thanee said.
‘‘There are currently many Chinese airlines flying directly to Phuket, including China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines.
“They have direct flights between Phuket and many cities in China, such as Nanning, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu, Macau, Hong Kong and Beijing,” he noted.
Staff throughout the airport have been briefed and are ready to cope with the onlsaught of passengers using the facility, Mr Thanee said.
“All the systems, the conveyors, elevators and air conditioning, have been checked and a fully operational,” he said.
“Our staff will be on standby 24 hours to help in case of any emergency,” he added.
Even restroom cleaning duties have been increased, Mr Thanee noted.
“We also have extra staff fluent in spoken Chinese and English to advise international arrival passengers in front of the immigration counters,” he said.
Security has also been ramped up, Mr Thanee said, noting the extra security staff, soldiers and police have been called in for the busy period, and that CCTV surveillance has been heightened.
“We will be prompt in terms of our equipment and our staff helping passengers,” he said.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) estimates that 5.93 million passengers will travel through the country’s six main international airports during the Chinese New Year holiday, with airlines set to operate 35,000 flights in total from Jan 30 through Feb 12.
Suvarnabhumi airport is forecast to be the most jam-packed, with 2.63 million passengers, or growth of 3.6% year-on-year, from 14,800 flights, a 9% increase. Some 40,000 passengers will travel via 300 charter and extra flights.
Don Mueang airport is expected to follow with total passengers of 1.61 million, up 4.3%, and some 5,500 of them will travel via 40 charter and extra flights arranged for the period. (See story here.)