Thailand expecting aerospace investment, rail lines approved

Thailand’s ambitions to become a regional aerospace hub are starting to take off as authorities expect over $10 billion worth of investment in the sector in coming years, as ground-based infrastructure also go a boost with four light-rail lines receiving final approvals last week.

The Board of Investment (BoI) said its package of generous incentives along with Thailand’s geographic position and skilled workforce are attracting increasing investment in the growing aerospace sector. The Board noted investment totals are expected to exceed $10 billion over the next seven years.

“As the global aviation market shifts east and demand for air travel is increasing in Asia, a significant number of new opportunities in the aerospace manufacturing and MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) industries are being created,” said Chokedee Kaewsang, Deputy Secretary-General of the BoI.

Thailand’s MRO flagship will be the Eastern Airport City, also known as Aerotropolis, anchored by U-Tapao airport, in the Eastern Economic Corridor, the country’s advanced development zone adjacent to Bangkok.

The Aerotropolis project is part of a 15- year aviation development plan for Thailand that includes the expansion of U-Tapao’s capacity from 5 million passengers a year to 54 million passengers a year in the next 30 years.

Meanwhile, rail development remained on track with four light-rail projects in four provinces getting the green light last week with the issuance of a Royal Decree that marks the final approval that will allow work to begin.

The four light rail lines will be built in Phuket and Phang Nga provinces in the south, Chiang Rai in the north, and Nakhon Ratchasima province in the northeast.