'No change in plan for MRO at U-Tapao Airport'
The proposed maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) project at the U-Tapao Airport will proceed as planned despite Thai Airways International (THAI) entering a business rehabilitation programme, Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) secretary-general Kanit Sangsubhan said.
The Bt11-billion project to build an MRO facility at Rayong’s U-Tapao Airport has already been approved by the Cabinet and a contract is expected to be signed in June.
“In early June, project owner the Royal Thai Navy will sign a contract with bid winner BBS Joint Venture, which comprises BTS Group Holdings, Bangkok Airways and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction,” said Kanit. “Meanwhile, the Aeropolis development project in a 30km radius around U-Tapao Airport was awarded to Narita International Airport Corporation, which is expected to be complete by 2023, coinciding with the opening of the MRO facility.”
There has been wide speculation that the MRO project could be delayed after French aerospace giant Airbus SAS withdrew from the joint venture while THAI is scheduled to enter a business rehabilitation programme after declaring bankruptcy. Kanit explained that “the MRO project will proceed as planned as it is a part of government’s mega-project to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor".
“Airbus pulling out of the joint venture is not a problem, as 4-5 companies have reached out to the EECO expressing their interest in the project,” he added.
The EECO also estimated that following the Covid-19 outbreak, air transport of goods will recover within one and a half years while passenger travel will take two years to return to normal. “Therefore, the outbreak should not affect the project's timeframe, which is scheduled to be completed within 2023,” added Kanit.