Due to record-setting passenger numbers, the airport is currently undergoing a THB5.8 billion (approximately USD188 million) expansion and renovation which will last until 2015. The expansion plans to increase capacity to 12.5 million passengers a year calls for a new international terminal, refurbishment of the existing terminal for domestic use, and other airfield improvements. A new car park as well as air cargo office are also planned. Terminal construction is expected to start in July 2012. A rail link from an alternate airport, Krabi Airport, is being considered as well as Phuket is congested and has little room to expand beyond 2015.
Phuket is one of the most favorite tourist destinations in the region. International passengers mainly come from Asia Pacific and Europe. In 2012 it ranked second busiest in total passenger traffic, after Suvarnabhumi Airport in the Bangkok metropolitan area.
On 15 April 1985 a Thai Airways Boeing 737-2P5 crashed, killing all 11 people on board. The crew had issued a radio call informing air traffic control that both engines had flamed out. No cause could be determined for the engine shutdown.
On 16 September 2007 One-Two-GO Airlines Flight 269 arriving on a scheduled flight from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport crashed after hitting the runway heavily while attempting to land in driving rain and severe wind shear. The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 slid off the runway, split into two, and exploded into flames after an apparent attempt to execute a go-around moments before touchdown. There were 123 passengers and 7 crew on board. 89 died and 40 were injured.
On 20 December 2012, an Air Berlin AirbusA330-200, registration number D-ABXA, flight number AB7425 en route to Abu Dhabi was forced to return to Phuket International Airport, after suffering a suspected engine fire. The aircraft burst a number of tyres on landing forcing the closure of the airport's only runway for approximately six hours.