Pandemic will not delay $9 billion Airport City project

Policymakers in Thailand are vowing that the coronavirus pandemic will not delay the development of the Airport City project in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Officials said they remain confident that its services and facilities will be up and running to drive growth in the coming years.

“Airport City will be the core of a new growth center and a hub for logistics and tourism,” said Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the Eastern Economic Corridor Office.

The jewel in the crown of Airport City, or Aerotropolis as it is also known, is U-Tapao International Airport. Once used mainly for military and cargo flights, U-Tapao is undergoing massive renovation and expansion to become an international gateway capable of handling 60 million passengers and three million tons of cargo a year.

While serving industries in the EEC and the popular beach resort of Pattaya, U-Tapao will be linked by rail to Bangkok’s two other major gateways Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports.

But Airport City will also be home to a free-trade zone, an aerospace industrial estate for research and development and manufacturing, and a huge maintenance, overhaul, and repair (MRO) facility to service aircraft from around the world.

The EEC is the three-province advanced development zone just east of Bangkok that is home to 12 high-tech industries that policymakers believe will drive Thailand to greater and more sustainable competitiveness. Among those industries are aerospace and aviation.

Although aviation has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Kanit expects the industry will recover by the end of 2021.

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