CP-led group to take over airport link
A consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group will take over the operations of Airport Rail Link (ARL) services on Monday, according to the Department of Rail Transport (DRT).
DRT's deputy director-general Pichet Khunathamrak recently held a meeting with Asia Era One (AERA1) to discuss the hand-over to ensure a smooth transition.
AERA1, formerly known as Eastern High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Co Ltd, is CP-led consortium that won the bid to build a high-speed rail linking three airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports with a plan to take over the ARL's operations this year.
ARL services are currently operated by SRT Electric Train Co, under the State of Railway of Thailand. The consortium is expected to pay about 10 billion baht for the take-over.
Train operations, safety and customer services are among issues discussed at the meeting ahead of the take-over.
ARL passengers have about six months from Oct 25 to April 30 next year to replace their rail cards without being charged.
Meanwhile, the SRT's board has greenlighted the signing of a memo of understanding (MoU) between SRT Electric Train Co and AERA1 to allow the consortium to delay transfer payments for three months with the handover scheduled to proceed as planned, according to a source at the SRT.
While the consortium can take over the train operations, ownership rights remain with the SRT until the payment is made.
Under the contract, AERA1 will pay a lump sum of 10.6 billion baht on Oct 24 to complete the operation transfer.
"The firm has asked to make the payment in instalments while taking over the operations as scheduled. So unless the payment is made, ARL is still owned by the SRT.
"The company can move their staff in because the SRT will shift theirs to the SRT's Red Line. The train services won't be affected," said the source.
The consortium is also seeking to break up the payment into 10 instalments over a period of 10 years.