U-Tapao International Airport plays a vital role in the development of the Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor under the Thailand 4.0 scheme. There are major developmental plans to expand the airport’s capacity since the government aims to turn U-Tapao International Airport into a third major destination for airlines. This will enable business expansions, as well as to better facilitate the establishment of the Special Economic Zone in anticipation of the EEC expansion. This major project accepts private investments in developing the U-Tapao International Airport as a part of the U-Tapao Airport and Eastern Airport City Development Project.
U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, under the authority of Thai Navy, is located at Baanchang District, Rayong Province. It occupies a land area of approximately 1040 hectares (6,500 rai, 2,570 acres). Currently, it has one runway with 52 bays and there are 2 passenger terminals, which can support 700,000 domestic and international passengers per year and it handles between 80,000 to 100,000 flights per year.
Private Public Partnership investments will allow continuous development of the airport and many various activities including:
- Passenger Terminal 3 and the Commercial Gateway
- Air Cargo facilities – Phase II
- Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities – Phase II
- Aviation Training Centre – Phase II
- Free Trade Zone
When these modernization and expansion plans of existing runway and new passenger and cargo terminals are ready; it will bring about a massive capacity increase from the current 800,000 passengers to around 3 million passengers per year. By 2021, the building of a second runway is about to happen. This will then enable the airport to reach its goal of handling 250,000 yearly flights in the future.
High Speed Train and double track railway and motorway expansion will soon provide interconnectivity between U-Tapao, Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang International Airports by a high-speed rail line. Furthermore, constructing a third terminal, having private sector to manage and operate it, is also taken into consideration. In combination, all three terminals will be able to accommodate up to 60 million passengers per year. Not only will it help alleviate the crowding of Bangkok’s other main airports but it will also result to a high increase in revenue. The growth of U-Tapao International Airport will bring an influx of tourists and businessmen to Pattaya and The Eastern Seaboard. Pattaya, a popular tourism area near U-Tapao, will greatly benefit from these expansion plans. Hence, Pattaya is undoubtedly foreseen to grow in the years ahead. Apparently, the increase of tourists will impact the hotels, restaurants, real estate market, and the general economy of Pattaya.
- Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC)
- Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi)
- Digital Park Thailand