Navy to finalise U-tapao deal
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Navy to finalise U-tapao deal

B290bn airport project pending cabinet approval

The navy will sign a contract next month with BBS Joint Venture to build the 290-billion-baht Eastern Airport City Project at U-tapao airport which is one of five megaprojects under the government's infrastructure development in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The signing is expected after the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday approved a draft contract which is now pending cabinet approval.

The project will make for the government an income of 305 billion baht from land lease and revenue-sharing and 62 billion baht from tax.

In the first five years the project will create 15,600 jobs.

The project covering 6,500 rai includes a third passenger terminal at U-tapao airport, a commercial gateway and a ground transport centre, an MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul) centre, a cargo complex and an aviation training centre.

The BBS consortium, which comprises Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, Bangkok Airways and BTS Group Holdings, offered the best return to the state at 305 billion baht under a 50-year contract.

Narita International Airport Corporation has been proposed to run the airport which is owned by the navy.

The other two bidders for the project are the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium and the Grand Consortium.

Kanit Sangsubhan, the EEC Office's secretary-general, said the project will be completed in 2023 along with the high-speed railway linking three key airports (Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao).

He said the Airport City Project is designated as the hub of industry, tourism, and logistics and aviation under the EEC and includes urban development covering 30km within the airport's radius.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said he told the meeting the Airport City Project and the high-speed railway linking three key airports must be completed simultaneously for optimal efficiency.

He said the Airport City Project will increase patronage of the high-speed train which will make travel between Bangkok and Rayong seamless.

Mr Kanit said two sub-committees have been set up to ensure close collaboration between the two megaprojects.

He said the Covid-19 pandemic will not affect the project as the construction will be completed by the time the aviation industry recovers from the fallout.

Citing a report by International Air Transport Association, he said domestic airlines are expected to recover before the third quarter while 50% of international airlines are expected to bounce back in the final quarter.

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