Second Airport For Samui?
An article in last week's Bangkok Post which said the Transport Ministry was looking at conducting a study for the feasibility of a new second airport in Koh Samui has created widespread industry speculation.
While the comments by the Ministry stop short specific actions it says that the Airports of Thailand (AoT) are to look for a second location and see whether it's viable to develop a new facility.
Clearly politics are at play as the piece says that the new airport would provide leverage with the AoT in talks with Bangkok Airways who currently operate the island's private airport.
So is this a case of political will or a fishing expedition?
It's hard to say but both the AoT and Transport Ministry are clearly ramping up the issue of high airport fees and limitations on airport traffic.
Looking inside the piece though, one has to wonder is the pressure coming also via legacy carrier Thai Airways who want a bigger share of the island's lucrative market?
One theme throughout the article is the continuous mention of the word monopoly.
Viewing our recent C9 Hotelworks Samui Hotel Market update for last year 2011, the shrinking Thai domestic market is clearly a key indicator that the lack of low-cost airlines is retraining demand for the island.
Bangkok Airways is reportedly launched an IPO this year and any concessions might jeopardize their underlying company value given the Koh Samui route is the airlines most profitable.
Let's see who blinks first in this increasingly political standoff.