The airline rapidly expanded, adding Boeing 747-200, Boeing 747-300, NAMC YS-11 turbo-prop and Boeing 757-200 aircraft to its fleet. In addition to flying several domestic routes, Phuket Air undertook international routes to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dubai, Dhaka, Chittagong, Yangon and Incheon. The airline also operated charter flights to Bangkok and Phuket for tour operators from Kuala Lampur, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Jakarta and Manila. Phuket Air also operated Hajj and Umrah charter flights to Jeddah from Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh. It also operated charter flights from Japan to Kuwait for the Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group.
Under strain from a downturn in the tourism industry after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and struggles to maintain its fleet of ageing aircraft, Phuket Airlines was plagued by poor service and safety concerns. Also the EU blacklisted the airline, banning it from flying to Europe. By the end of 2005, Phuket Air had scaled back its operations, laid off hundreds of its employees and decided to concentrate on leasing its aircraft to other carriers. Domestic services ceased on 12 September 2005.
In 2005-2006 Hajj season, Phuket Airlines provided B747-200/300 aircraft on a short term wet lease to Saudi Arabian Airlines. The carrier commissioned Air France Industries, the aircraft maintenance-service arm of the French flag carrier, to help lift Phuket Airlines' safety standards.. In late 2006-07, the airline flew charters for the Saudi Arabia's Ministry of the Interior flying out deportees. On the 6 March 2007, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, removed Phuket Air of Thailand from its list of blacklisted airline after they complied with their stringent safety audits and inspections. Phuket Air has been one of the first few airlines to achieve this . In October 2007, Phuket Airlines resumed operations and provided 3 B747-200/300 aircraft to Saudi Arabian Airlines on a short term ACMI/wet lease contract for the Hajj charters.
In February 2008, Saudia offered a long term renewable annual ACMI contract with 4 B747-200/300 aircraft and options for additional aircraft. The aircraft currently based in Jeddah operate international scheduled flights. They will also operate religious charter flights (Umrah and Hajj) for Saudia.. Reportedly the contract was offered to Phuket Air, after their competitor Air Atlanta Icelandic could not manage the contract to Saudia's satisfaction when it was given to them during 2006-2007. Also Air Atlanta has decided to shift their focus from passengers to Air Cargo ACMI projects. This has opened up the passenger ACMI market and Phuket Air is in the process of negotiating new ACMI/wet lease contracts.
The Phuket Air fleet consists of the following aircraft
Past aircraft operated on dry lease by Phuket Air