New Airports For Samui and Bali
Thailand's Department of Civil Aviation is reportedly studying the feasibility of a THB1 billion new airport in Don Sak, which would serve Samui.
Located on a 1,500 rai plot on the mainland according to the Nation newspaper, a proposed 2,000 meter long runaway would be able to land single body jets such as Airbus A320's.
The project would link into railway and transport plans for increasing access to the south of Thailand.
Our analysis of the situation is that possible shortfalls of the plan is the inability to cater to widebody aircraft which are commonly used by charter flights from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe which just duplicated the issued faced by the existing Samui airport.
Additionally the existing Surat Thani International Airport operated by DCA is operating at a loss and low demand, though it can land larger aircraft classes.
Upside of the Don Sak plan would be the ability to cater to low-cost airline carriers who are not servicing the tourist island, and restraining domestic and regional demand. The commercial stranglehold on Samui by Bangkok Airways remains highly contentious.
In other news, I'm in Jakarta today where Bali is making headlines on the announcement that the State-owned airport operator AP 1 will start construction of a 2nd airport by the end of 2013.
The project is a venture with Indian firm GVK Power and Infrastructure. Based on a story in the Jakarta Post the project will commence once the current Ngurah Rai International expansion will complete mid next year.
Located on the north in Buleleng, the project has wide support given that majority of the island's tourism development is located in the south, and new access would open up vast potential on the west and east coast.