Donnerstag, 27. September 2007

Phuket - December 2002

Phuket is situated on the west coast of Thailand, at the Bay of Bengal. The runway 09/27 is 3000 meters long and ends at one end at the edge of the water. Up to a couple of years ago there was a really scenic spot beneath the tower. You were sitting on a rock together with the locals above the perimeter road and were watching the traffic.

One of the highlights for me at the time - Orient Thai had a daily service connecting Hongkong with Bangkok with a short stopover at Phuket. Boeing 747-246B HS-UTP, build in 1973, was taken over from JAL after a sale to Air Gulf Falcon fell through.

Another very welcome visitor was Antonov 24RV XU-375 of little known Sky Eyes from Cambodia leaving for Rayong / U-Taphao International. The Antonov was leased from President Airlines (also from Cambodia) and was originally build for Aeroflot's Kazakstan division.

Across the runway there is a little military apron with a hangar usually housing a Fokker F27. On a rare occasion 2111 of the Royal Thai Navy is accelerating for a departure on runway 27.

When runway 09 is in use some interesting photo possibilities with the sea in the background give you the chance to get some atmospheric photographs. An ATR-72 of local carrier Bangkok Airways is rotating early.

One of the main markets for Bangkok Airways is the "milk-run" from Bangkok to Siem Raep serving the tourist attraction Angkor Wat. Boeing 717 HS-PGO, one of 4 of the type and the only ones operated in South East Asia, shows the head of a Khmer god and is appropriately named "Angkor". This aircraft was delivered to Bangkok Air in 2001 passing through Zurich on her way to Thailand.

Beautiful Thai Airbus A330-322 HS-TEL is touching down gently arriving from Bangkok. She has since been repainted into Star Alliance colors.

At the end of this blog I include a picture which is history for a long time. On my first trip to Asia I passed through Phuket in 1987. In those times the small terminal had a wonderful spectators area with an unobstructed view of the runway. In those times Thailand had Thai International for flights abroad and Thai Airways (in a different attractive color scheme) for domestic services. Two Airbus A310-200s (with winglets) and 3 Boeing 737-200s were in service with the carrier. HS-TIC was taken over by Thai International when the 2 airlines merged into one and finally scrapped in Abu Dhabi in 2001.