Thailand Government to Spend 760 million baht on U-Tapao Feasibility Studies
26th Jul 2017
The Thai government has announced it will spend 760 million baht on feasibility studies for the expansion of the U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport. According to Kobsak Pootrakool, Vice Minister at the Office of the Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the feasibility studies will cover several elements including the construction of a second airport runway, another passenger terminal, as well as an aircraft repair and maintenance centre.
The funding for the studies has been approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday.
The total cost of developing the U-Tapao Airport is expected to be around 144 billion baht and will include 12 projects to be undertaken in the next four years (by 2021). These projects include a new building for the main airport office and cargo facilities, a personnel training centre, installation of X-ray units and other security software, a CCTV system, a military bunker, communication system and other facilities.
The aircraft repair and maintenance centre alone is estimated that it will cost 20 billion baht, while the budget for the personnel training centre is now increased from 1.26 billion baht from last year to 1.4 billion baht this year by the government.
Since the cost of developing the U-Tapao Airport will be so high, it will naturally create a big dent in the kingdom’s budget. To alleviate this somewhat, Thai government is trying to get some foreign investors to join private-public partnership agreements with it to get more funds for the airport. Already, these efforts have paid off as the Airbus Group, French aircraft manufacturer, has pledged to invest its money into the U-Tapao repair and maintenance centre.
The expansion of U-Tapao Airport will be an important part of the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project. The EEC project will cover three provinces: Rayong (where the U-Tapao airport is located), Chachoengsao and Chon Buri. According to estimates, public and private investments in the EEC will be around 1.5 trillion baht in the first five years.