There is often conjecture about the Hua Hin Airport, particularly about the future of regular scheduled flights, either domestic or international. After all this is a significant facility with a capacity to cater for international arrivals and a runway large enough to land a Boeing 737. However to date regular commuter travel has been limited, only recently bolstered by the commencement of the regular (three days a week) Hua Hin to Kuala Lumpur flights provided by Berjaya Air.
Currently there are no other regular domestic commuter services available (including to Bangkok) and no signs of plans for these services. The last scheduled Bangkok – Hua Hin domestic flights were discontinued in 1990, apparently because of the length of the runway. However a development plan carried out from 1997 to 2000 saw the extension of the runway to resolve this issue.
There are charter flights available with a variety of Companies offering tailored flights though these are likely to be beyond the resources of most potential passengers. Notable recent VIP passengers arriving at the airport by charter recently were the King and Queen of Malaysia on an official State visit. We are told this included an escort by the Royal Thai Air Force over Thai air space.
Statistics for the period January to end July 2013 describe a total of 5,053 scheduled international passenger arrivals and 109 domestic arrivals. Not a busy airport for a Region of this size and level of tourism importance. The proximity of many of the Regions resorts and hotels to the airport is potentially a bonus for those flying in to Hua Hin. So what are the issues?
- Proximity to Bangkok means that road transport, despite traffic issues, remains as the preferred travel mode.
- Future plans for a high speed rail link may dissuade service providers from planning future domestic flight services.
- The promotion (including low cost accommodation packages) of direct flights from Australian airports to Phuket or Chiang Mai but not to Hua Hin.
One shining light on the horizon is the provision of direct flights between Hua Hin and Kuala Lumpur every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. The current emphasis for this service is on Malaysian golfers travelling to experience the Region’s range of fine golf courses.
For around 6,000 THB return this flight could also be a real ‘Visa Run’ option. This is a two hour forty minute flight which would require a minimum of two nights stay in Malaysia. Perhaps an opportunity for a package deal; airfares, transfers and accommodation for a very convenient and pleasant getaway to cater for those needing a short exit and re-entry from Thailand?
Some Other Potential Services:
There are suggestions that with an influx of Chinese tourists heading for Hua Hin a direct flight from China may be in the pipeline but this cannot be confirmed.
The impact of ASEAN commuters from the Member nations could impact on the need for flight services.
There is a suggestion that scenic flights along the coastline and hinterland could be offered. However there is no promotion of this potentially appealing option for visitors to date.
A link with the 2014 (and beyond) Hua Hin and Cha-Am Golf Festival.
Other Services Available:
- Emergency medical evacuations.
- Immigration, customs and health control services available on demand.
- Hangar and aircraft maintenance site for the flight testing branch of AEROTHAI (Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd.).
- Hangar and aircraft maintenance site for the Flying Unit of the Search and Rescue of Aircraft in Distress, Air Safety Division.
- Flying Training Division of the Civil Aviation Training Centre. This includes a pilot training program for anyone wanting to ‘test their wings’.
- Support for the Police Flying Division, parachuting activities of the Border Patrol Police, the Agricultural Aviation Division, Electricity Generating Authority, the Civil Aeronautical Society and the Thai Flying Club.
- The runway has a length of 2,100 metres and a width of 35 metres. It has high runway light intensity.
- There are three taxiways with a combined length of 320 metres.
- A concrete apron beside the terminal covers an area of over 12,000 square metres.
- The passenger terminal has an area of 7,200 square metres with air conditioned arrival and departure lounges to manage up to 300 passengers at any time.
- The control tower is 7 stories for efficiency in managing air traffic control.
For more information about the airport and how its facilities can be accessed we suggest that you visit the information desk at the airport. The airport public relations Manager is Khun Bow, a very helpful and informative staff Member. Together with Khun Rujapa Homjan, the Acting General Manager these ladies welcomed the visit of Hua Hin & Cha-Am Today reporters checking out what is on offer at the airport.
Footnote: One request made by our hosts was for copies of our publication for incoming passengers so they can be informed about happenings around town. Sounds like a good idea!