In 2015 work on Koh Phangan Airport came to a halt. Not only was the project coming in over budget but also legal difficulties were preventing the vital transport hub from being completed. Throughout 2016 it looked like Koh Phangan Airport was dead in the water. The latest news released by Kan Air to the Bangkok Post has revived hopes that the airport will eventually be completed and the dream of being able to fly directly to Koh Phangan is now back on.
On 5th September the Bangkok Post published an online article entitled, ‘Koh Phangan Airport Developer Seeks Loans‘. The lead is about the search for an injection of cash to complete Koh Phangan Airport. Kan Air estimate they need 1.5 Billion more Thai Baht to get the job done.
Kannithi Aviation that runs Kan Air has told the newspaper that ideally they want a soft loan from foreign financiers. The distinction between foreign and Thai finance is to do with the lower interest rates charged by non- Thai financiers.
The President of Kannithi Aviation Somphong Sooksanguan stated that he preferred loans to raise capital rather than a joint venture. The article states that this will speed up completion of the airport. However, no evidence is provided as to why joint ventures lead to delays.
The Bangkok Post must have forgotten that it had earlier reported that the Environmental Impact Assessment for the airport had been waived. Now it claims that this is a potential stumbling block for the project. Besides can you start clearing the land and grading it before the impact assessment has given the all clear?
A new bit of information is that Kannithi Air plans to open up the airport not just for Kan Air flights but also for other airlines. This means the possibility of more scheduled flights and possibly scheduled flights to destinations other than just Bangkok.
Original estimates for costs to build Koh Phangan Airport were 900 million Thai Baht. The project has to date racked up costs of close to 2 billion Thai Baht.