Hua Hin Airport latest: Regular international flights still some way off, discussions held over Udon Thani route

Hua Hin Airport
Image: Hua Hin Today

The vision for Hua Hin Airport to transition into an international hub is steadily taking shape, as the Department of Airports (DoA) pushes forward with an extensive modernization plan.

However, while recent optimism suggested international flights might commence by the end of this year, updated projections indicate that the timeline for such operations could span anywhere from one to three years.

Meanwhile, Hua Hin Today understands that discussions have taken place about more domestic routes operating from the airport, notably a route linking Hua Hin with Udon Thani.

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Hua Hin Airport is currently undergoing a significant upgrade and infrastructural improvements.

On August 5, Mr. Rattaphon Charoenphon, representing the Director of Hua Hin Airport, highlighted the advancements in the airport’s development strategy.

At the heart of these upgrades is the newly expanded runway, which now stretches to 2,100 meters in length and 60 meters in width, inclusive of the path’s shoulders. This expanded runway is now poised to accommodate larger aircraft, such as the Airbus A320.

However, challenges remain.

The safety standards in the areas surrounding the airport still require attention. In response, an intensive study has been initiated to address the physical constraints of the airport, with results anticipated by year’s end.
Collaborative discussions with prospective airlines operating out of Hua Hin have also been conducted to gain insight into potential physical challenges and associated risks.

The lack of infrastructure means that it is difficult for airlines to commit to operating from the airport at the present time.

Upon completion, these findings will be compiled and submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand for a comprehensive review, paving the way for greenlighting international flights.

In tandem with these improvements, the DoA is emphasizing the enhancement of safety standards in the vicinity of the airport.

A contractor for the initiative has been identified post-bidding, but formal contract agreements are pending. The proposal is under scrutiny by the Ministry of Transport and will soon be presented to the Budget Bureau for further deliberation.

One major upgrade that is still needed before the airport can handle more international flights is the expansion of the road tunnel on Phetkasem Road — both inbound and outbound sides — by 20 meters each. This adjustment is paramount to meeting the rigorous safety protocols around the extended runway. A subsequent focus will be on expanding the railway tunnel at the runway’s terminus and executing landfills to augment the safety zones, as per the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The tunnel on Phetkasem Road near Hua Hin Airport needs to be expanded before more international flights can operate

Beyond infrastructure, there’s a broader strategic emphasis on increasing domestic flights ahead of international ones.

AirAsia operate the flight between Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, which is now available four times per week.

Potential new routes, such as between Hua Hin and Udon Thani, are now under active consideration.

Hua Hin Today has been made aware of a meeting held in June, attended by key airport officials, stakeholders, and provincial administration leaders from Udon Thani, deliberated on the viability of this route.

Such connectivity aims to bridge the northeastern region of Thailand with Laos and potentially facilitate easier access for Chinese tourists to Hua Hin.

While the transformation of Hua Hin Airport shows promising signs, considerable work remains before regular international flights are operating from the airport.

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