New company to push U-tapao plan

New company to push U-tapao plan

'Airport city' project gets B50m boost

The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee has approved the setting up of a new company to expedite the development of U-tapao airport.

The company will support the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) scheme that was delayed by the pandemic and the bankruptcy of Thai Airways International (THAI), committee secretary-general Kanit Sangsubhan told media on Monday.

"The new company named the EEC Airport Asset Development Co., Ltd., which is 100% owned by the EEC project will operate with capital of 50 million baht," Mr Kanit said.

Mr Kanit also said the high-speed rail project linking three airports -- Don Mueang in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan and U-tapao in Rayong -- is making good progress.

The State Railway of Thailand has already given 3,493 rai of land to constructors to develop facilities along a section of rail from Suvarnabhumi to U-tapao airports, he said.

The SRT plans to give the remaining 20 rai to the constructors by the end of May and is currently waiting for the owners of plots of land in other areas to arrive at similar settlements, he added.

The new company will work closely with U-tapao International Aviation Co to transform the airport into a gateway for trade and commerce into the Southeast Asian market.

The board has approved incentives and privileges for the Eastern Airport City Project that span 10 years with the goal of creating a hub comparable to those in Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai.

These measures will also include 24/7 operations to encourage more tourist and business arrivals as well as a push to incentivise duty-free purchases and make work permits of up to 10 years available to skilled foreign immigrants.

The U-tapao aviation city has been repeatedly delayed, first by the onset of Covid-19 and then the full-blown collapse of THAI.

The concept is one of five projects that form the backbone of the EEC scheme along with the high-speed railway linking three airports; the MRO centre; the third phase of Laem Chabang seaport; and the third phase of Map Ta Phut seaport.

U-tapao International Airport is located in Ban Chang district of Rayong, and occupies 6,500 rai spanning all the way to Sattahip district in Rayong.

The overall project is hoped to be completed in 2023.

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