Upgrading to an International Airport
The Department of Airports (DoA) has announced plans to transform Hua Hin Airport into an international airport in an effort to promote tourism in the region. Rattapol Charoenphon, the acting director of Hua Hin Airport, stated that the airport’s runway has already been extended to 2.1 kilometers in length and 60 meters in width, allowing it to accommodate Airbus A320 aircraft. Moreover, the airport now has parking bays for three of these planes.
Presently, Thai AirAsia is the sole airline offering a one-stop service between Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, with three flights per week. However, Mr. Rattapol revealed that the airport is eager to serve international flights as well.
Improving Safety and Infrastructure
To accommodate international flights, the airport must enhance safety measures by constructing additional infrastructure. This includes expanding the traffic tunnel on Phetkasem Road, situated about 1 km from the airport, and the airport train tunnel. The safe zone around the airport will also be upgraded to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.
The DoA has a specific company in mind for the safety expansion project. However, this project still requires approval from the Transport Ministry, which will then forward the budget request to the Budget Bureau. Once the contract is signed, the project is expected to take 600 days to complete.
Expansion Plans and Meeting with Airlines
In the meantime, the airport is conducting a study to explore options for expanding its facilities. Meetings with commercial airlines are planned to address their concerns and gather feedback. A report will be submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand for approval of an international airport license later this year.
As part of a plan to stimulate tourism in the province, Nopasit Chakpitak, President of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, held a seminar on guidelines for developing Hua Hin Airport to accommodate more aircraft. Currently, the airport manages around 30,000 private jets annually, demonstrating its potential for growth.
Economic Impact and Potential for Growth
Wassana Srikanchana, President of the Hua Hin Cha Am Tourism Business Association, believes that Hua Hin Airport holds immense potential due to its proximity to Bangkok. The establishment of an international airport in Hua Hin would attract tourists, thus boosting the economy of Prachuap Khiri Khan and nearby Phetchaburi.
Overall, the expansion and upgrade of Hua Hin Airport present a promising opportunity to enhance the region’s tourism industry and stimulate economic growth. With the potential to handle more aircraft and attract international flights, Hua Hin Airport could become a significant player in Thailand’s aviation sector.