Koh Phangan. Suratthani Deputy Gov. Thawatchai Toetphaothai has told reporters that the new airport project would be revived after it was suspended by the previous government. He explained that with Bangkok Airways having increased the airfares, tourism on Koh Samui and neighboring islands might be affected badly.
Koh Samui and Koh Phangan have been known worldwide as destinations for budget-conscious tourists. But with the new airfares, there are fears these tourists would choose other destinations. An airport on Koh Phangan would provide an alternative route for tourists to Samui since Phangan is only about 15 km. from Koh Samui and 25 minutes away by speed boat.
A meeting of concerned departments was scheduled last Nov. 13 to tackle the problem posed by the higher fares imposed by Bangkok Airways. Thawatchai said he would support other airlines applying to land on the mainland Suratthani. So far airlines flying to Suratthani include Thai Airways, Air Asia and Orient Thai One Two Go.
The province is coordinating with speed-boat operators in facilitating the transfer of passengers to both Samui and Phangan from the Suratthani airport where the air fares are cheaper. By Seatran Ferry and Racha Ferry it takes around one and a half hours from Koh Samui to the mainland.