The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee on Wednesday approved four infrastructure projects worth a combined 432.85 billion baht, with terms of reference (ToRs) scheduled to be launched within this month.
The four projects are the U-tapao aviation city (worth 290 billion baht); a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre (10.59 billion); the third phase of the Laem Chabang seaport (84.36 billion); and the third phase of the Map Ta Phut seaport (47.90 billion).
Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the Royal Thai Navy will issue the ToR for bids for the U-tapao aviation city this month and expects to be able to choose a joint venture company in February next year.
The investment includes the airport's third terminal, a commercial gateway, the second phase of an MRO, a cargo village or free trade zone and a human resource training centre.
The U-tapao aviation city is expected to produce an economic rate of return worth 190 billion baht, excluding the impact of 15,640 employees.
Mr Kanit said the investment will enhance the capacity of the U-tapao airport to handle 60 million passengers, on par with Suvarnabhumi airport's capacity, allowing for lower congestion of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
The project will be completed in five years, which conforms to the planned high-speed rail development that links three airports.
"U-tapao airport in the next five years will become the East's airport city, while Pattaya and Rayong areas will become an Eastern Aerotropolis over the next 10 years," he said.
Mr Kanit said the ToR for the MRO investment project that is being handled by Thai Airways International will be introduced within this month, and the winning joint venture partner will be secured by February next year.
The economic rate of return is projected at 22.1 billion baht, excluding jobs created for high technology experts, and revenue increasing from offering services to foreign airlines worth 200 billion baht.
The third phase of the Laem Chabang port is estimated to generate 180 billion baht in economic returns.
The ToR is scheduled to be issued this month and a joint venture with a private partner is expected to be cemented in February next year.
The third phase of Map Ta Phut port is expected to generate 85.3 billion baht in economic rate returns, with the ToR due to be launched this month and a joint venture partner confirmed in January.
Mr Kanit said with the high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports, the administration of the Airport Rail Link, the government has approved a total five key infrastructure projects for the EEC.
Infrastructure projects at EEC are expected to contribute 819.66 billion baht in benefits to the Thai economy, excluding the impact of 40,000 new jobs and a financial rate of return to the government projected at a combined 559.71 billion baht (446 billion baht from the public and 112.75 billion baht from the private sector).
Total investment in the EEC is projected at 1.7 trillion baht, with the private investment making up for 1.4 trillion baht in both for infrastructure development and private investment in the 10 targeted industries.