Phuripat Theerakulpisut, Director of the Phuket Marine Office, said the project is now undergoing its environmental impact assessment (EIA), after which planning permission will be sought.
Asked how long it would be before the pier can be up and running, he said, “It depends on how long the EIA takes.”
But he is still full of enthusiasm for his idea. “It will help to reduce traffic [on Phuket’s roads] and solve the problems of airport taxis. It will run to an exact schedule and will cut journey times, and tourists can enjoy the sea view while travelling to their hotels.”
Initially, he said, the service would link the airport with Patong, where many of Phuket’s hotels are. But he foresees a time when there will be services from the airport to Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Racha, the Phi-Phi Islands and other places that have piers.
“It will be used by passenger ferries, speed boats, private boats, motor yachts and hydrofoils – each targeting different groups of tourists.”
Asked whether there had been opposition from taxi drivers in Mai Khao who might see the pier as a threat to their livelihood, he said there had been very little. “Ninety per cent of the local taxi drivers are not opposed to the project because it will reduce traffic, which will allow them to make more trips.
“It will also save tourists time. It will take only 25 minutes from the airport pier to Patong Beach instead of 45 minutes by road.
Images: The Phuket News