Thailand banks on Eastern Economic Corrider projects to pull up economy

Somkid Jatusripitak, Thailand's deputy prime minister. - Bloomberg

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN): The government should push ahead with the mega infrastructure projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) as they are key to pulling the country out of economic trouble in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said after meeting with the EEC Policy Committee on Thursday (May 21).

At the meeting, related agencies were given the job of setting up a working panel to coordinate both the upgrading of the U-Tapao International Airport and the Eastern Airport City Project at U-Tapao, as well as the development of high-speed railways linking U-Tapao Airport with Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.

The committee wants both projects to be developed simultaneously and completed at around the same time in a move to capitalise on their connectivity, maximise their economic benefits as well as offer additional convenience to the public.

The meeting also approved a draft contract on investment for the upgrading of U-Tapao International Airport and the Eastern Airport City Project.

The draft will be presented to the Cabinet for approval, said Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office of Thailand.

This draft will be signed by the Royal Thai Navy, which owns the project, and the winning bidder BBS consortium. The consortium comprises BTS Group Holdings, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and Bangkok Airways.

Once upgraded, U-Tapao International Airport will serve as the third international airport of the capital. It is expected to generate up to Bt305 billion in financial returns from the lease of land and revenue sharing, as well as create 15,600 jobs in the first five years.

All assets will be transferred to the state once the contract ends in 50 years.

The project includes the world-class Terminal 3 as well as a commercial gateway, air cargo terminal, a maintenance repair and overhaul service centre, free trade zone, and aviation training centre.

Kanit said the project construction will begin this year and be completed in 2023. - The Nation/Asia News Network

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