By The Nation
One of five mega-infrastructure projects in the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, the U-Tapao airport development in Rayong will link with Bangkok’s Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports via high-speed trains to handle up to 200 million passengers annually.
The contract signing was overseen at Government House by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The project will create a hub for tourism, logistics and aviation in the EEC, said the government, while the Eastern Aerotropolis between Rayong and Pattaya will revitalise the eastern seaboard, connecting with Bangkok through sea, road, rail and air, and making Thailand an aviation hub and gateway to Asia. U-Tapao would effectively become Bangkok’s third commercial airport, said the government.
The BBS bid offered returns of Bt305.555 billion to the state. The project is also expected to generate more than Bt62 billion in tax revenue and 15,600 jobs per year for the first 5 years.
The project area is situated in Ban Chang district, Rayong province, about 30km from Pattaya and the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.
The government will invest Bt20 billion to construct a second runway and control tower to handle up to 70 flights per hour, while BBS will invest Bt270 billion in the construction of the third passenger terminal with annual capacity of 60 million passengers, automated people mover (APM), logistics and cargo complex, free-trade zone and a commercial centre with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per year. Other supporting facilities include Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), aviation training centre, electricity power plant, tap water production plant, wastewater treatment plant, and aviation fuel services.
Moreover, the project also has the commercial gateway of 400,000 square metres which includes duty free area, shopping arcade, restaurants, hotels as well as Business Park and Airport City covering 1 million square metres of shopping and exhibition centres, and office buildings.
BBS Joint Venture has formed the U-Tapao International Aviation Co Ltd to construct the project, which is divided into four phases.
Phase 1 includes a passenger terminal building of 157,000sqm, commercial area, parking facilities, ground transportation centre, and 60 aircraft stands – scheduled for completion in 2024 to boost annual passenger capacity to 15.9 million.
Phase 2 includes a passenger terminal building of 107,000sqm with Automated People Mover (APM) and automated walkways with 16 additional aircraft stands, to be completed in 2030 and boosting passenger capacity to 30 million.
Phase 3 includes Passenger Terminal 2 of 107,000 sqm with an additional Automated People Mover (APM) and 34 aircraft stands, to be completed in 2042 and boosting capacity to 60 million annual passengers.
Construction of the 3,500-metre second runway is being undertaken by the Royal Thai Navy, with a 2024 completion date.
The U-Tapao International Aviation Co Ltd consists of Bangkok Airways Plc, BTS Group Holdings Plc, and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc.