For over two years there hasn’t been any work done on Koh Phangan Airport. The area had been cleared and much of the land for the runway had been flattened and prepared for the first concrete pour. The architect’s plans for the terminal buildings had been signed off and their position on the site marked.
Although slow, there had been continuous progress on the project since the 2012 inception of Kan Air’s plan to build an airport on the island of Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. In 2015 that slow progress came to a permanent halt when government officials discovered that a 20-Rai section of the airport infringed on Than Sadet National Park.
This illegal state of affairs remains an impasse. As does lack of funds – Kan Air were looking for partners in the project in order to get a boost of funds.
Is this the end?
Not necessarily. The law is not an insuperable obstacle in Thailand. The constitution was re-written a few years ago to favour the military and legitimise its position. National Park land in Thailand has been encroached on before. The authorities are often slow to clear the land, and sometimes have a de facto rather than de jure approach to public land management.
Kan Air is not a heavy weight in the aviation world. It is very much a fledgling carrier looking to emulate the success of Bangkok Airways. If the green light was given on the land status and construction was allowed to recommence then money might be found from either Thailand or abroad. The commercial idea of an airport on Koh Phangan is attractive as the island has a large influx of visitors every month for the Full Moon Party.
It is unwise to speculate but it is also perhaps premature to completely dismiss the possibility of an airport being built on Koh Phangan.