Navy will sign contract for U-Tapao Airport City megaproject

The pandemic-related downturn in the airline industry is not deterring Thailand from developing its aviation infrastructure, as the Royal Thai Navy said last week it would soon sign a $9 billion contract to begin building the Eastern Airport City megaproject.

Thailand is a regional aviation hub. However, massive growth in air traffic in and out of the Kingdom during the past two decades has outstripped capacity, making it essential to expand existing and build new aviation infrastructure.

The Eastern Airport City will be situated in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), Thailand’s advanced development zone adjacent to Bangkok. Centered on U-Tapao International Airport, it will contain the region’s largest MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) facility, an aviation training center, a cargo complex, and rail links to the two major international airports in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang.

The Navy said it would sign the contract next month with a private consortium whose members include Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, Bangkok Airways, and BTS Group Holdings, the owner of the Skytrain commuter rail system in Bangkok.

Navy officials said they had sent the contract to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for approval.

Kanit Sangsubhan, the EEC Office’s secretary-general, said the project would be completed in 2023, including the rail links.

Meanwhile, the Pattaya City Administration announced plans to build a 5.6-mile monorail to lessen traffic congestion in the beach resort town.

“For the future development of Pattaya, it is necessary to reduce the use of private cars while moving towards public transport in the form of an electric rail system to distribute wealth, promote tourism, and help the industrial sector,” said Deputy Mayor Manote Nongyai.

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