EEC aerotropolis study likely to wrap up in 2019

EEC aerotropolis study likely to wrap up in 2019

Over 500 Japanese investors took a business tour of the EEC.
Over 500 Japanese investors took a business tour of the EEC.

The government expects the EEC aerotropolis’ feasibility study to be completed in the next 18 months, says EEC Office secretarygeneral Kanit Sangsubhan.

The aerotropolis will cover 6,500 rai between Rayong and Chon Buri in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The 250-billion-baht project will be financed through a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

The government said it will announce the terms of reference for the project this month, aiming to sign a contract in December.

The feasibility study will be conducted by Team Consulting Engineering and Management Co and Chulalongkorn University’s Transportation Institute. Aviation specialist John Kasarda will aid in the development of U-tapao airport and villages surrounding the EEC aerotropolis.

The government allocated 7 million baht for the first phase of the feasibility study and 10 million for the second phase.

“The government wants U-tapao airport to be Thailand’s model for an aerotropolis, a community where the layout, infrastructure and economy is centred around an airport,” said Mr Kanit.

The government projects the U-tapao infrastructure will be in place by 2023. The airport is expected to serve 15 million passengers in the next five years, 30 million passengers in 10 years and 60 million passengers in 15 years.

The government recently announced its infrastructure development plans, which include 168 projects worth 988 billion baht. PPPs will provide 59% of the capital (583 billion baht); the government’s annual statement of expenditure will contribute 20% (296 billion); state enterprises will contribute 10% (98 billion), and the navy will contribute 1%.

The EEC aerotropolis development will include the airport city as well as aviation industry, logistics and free trade areas, he said. The project’s inner ring (city section) will extend 10 kilometres from the airport. The outer aerotropolis will connect with the logistics systems of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao, he said.

The government is concerned that expropriating the land needed for the EEC aerotropolis development project will lead to conflicts with local villagers and developers. The EEC Office and the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Department are working to solve the land expropriation conflict.

Mr Kasarda, the leading developer of the aerotropolis concept, said the government needs to train human resource managers and other employees essential to its aerotropolis project and the Thailand 4.0 policy.

The government is promoting 10 targeted industries: next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical services.

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