Govt signs U-Tapao 'airport city' deal
The state agency overseeing eastern seaboard development, on Friday signed a 290-billion-baht deal to build the Eastern Airport City Project at U-Tapao.
Those behind the project say the deal will catapult Thailand into a regional aviation hub.
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office's Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Committee yesterday signed the deal with winning concessionaire, U-Tapao International Aviation Co, an offshoot of the BBS Joint Venture that won the bid to develop the "aeropolis" in Ban Chang district of Rayong Province.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who presided over the contract signing at Government House, said the 290-billion-baht scheme was a shining example of a public-private partnership investment.
"This is considered an important step for the country to become a regional aviation hub. The government will speed up such investment projects to meet its goals," he said.
The project is is expected to create 78,000 jobs in the aviation industry sector and related businesses in the first five years.
EEC Office secretary-general, Kanit Sangsubhan, said the aviation city scheme is part of the largest investment projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
U-Tapao would become Bangkok's third international airport under a scheme that would link it with Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports and boost their handling capacity to up to 200 million passengers annually.
The U-Tapao International Airport City Project & Eastern Airport City Project also incorporates a high-speed train route linking the three major airports. That contract was signed last October between the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).
For the aeropolis development, the BBS Joint Venture comprises Bangkok Airways, which owns 45% of the shares, BTS Group Holdings which owns 35%, and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction (STEC) which owns 20%.
U-Tapao International Aviation Co has starting capital of 4.5 billion baht that will increase to 9 billion baht in 2024.
Bangkok Airways (BA) president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said the project requires a 130-billion-baht investment throughout its four phases starting from now until 2055.
The four phases involves the building of a 157,000-square-metre-passenger terminal that when fully completed in 2055 will make the airport able to handle 60 million passengers per year, according to Chokechai Panyayong, the project's special adviser.
The first phase, expected to be completed in 2024, is the building of a passenger terminal to handle 15.9 million passengers annually.
This phase also includes the development of a commercial area, parking facilities, a ground transport centre and 60 aircraft parking bays.
Phase 2, 3 and 4 are all about expanding the passenger terminal.
Phase 2 will be completed in 2030 and increase passenger capacity to 30 million per annum, 45 million for Phase 3 by 2040 and 60 million passengers per year by 2055.
He said construction of a second runway, which is the responsibility of the Royal Thai Navy, is at the design and environment and health impact assessment stage and is expected to be completed by 2024.