Plans to Turn U-Tapao Airport into an Aviation Hub
The Thai Prime Minister Chan-o-Cha has unveiled plans to turn U-Tapao Airport in the third largest airport in Thailand to feed to the ongoing growth of the Pattaya region and its world-class holiday environment. The airport has been military run over many years and now is in line for exciting new plans to take the region to the next level. There are immediate plans to improve the airport as a whole and also a longer term plan to make it a big player on the Thai aviation scene.
Not only will the airport still be an important facility for the authorities on secret missions, but will also become more commercial-friendly. This airport will include a new second terminal which has a soft opening for August, with the grand opening and launch in the New Year, although the construction is now already 99% completed.
The budget for the new terminal is 619 million baht, which will see the airport being able to handle 3 million passengers in 2017. The current arrivals total is 800,000 passengers per year. Part of the renovations and construction is more aerobridges and many more parking bays. The development was first planned in 2014, with further plans in the pipeline to make U-Tapao a new aircraft maintenance centre in the future.
The improvements at U-Tapao will open up the Rayong area and other local areas, which will boost more tourism, and benefit the Pattaya real estate sector, which already boasts dynamic growth year upon year. Even road infrastructure around the airport from Sattahip to Sukhumvit Road will be improved to deal with the influx.
The State Railway of Thailand has also been studying the area, with aims to expand the Eastern Route to U-Tapao.
Although this first phase of construction is aimed towards 3 million passengers per year, the longer term plans from 2018 to 2020 is expected to increase the airport’s capacity to 5 million passengers per year, which will also include more infrastructure to support the venture.
In essence, it’s great news for Pattaya as a holiday destination and will also feed more growth to the Pattaya real estate market in the surrounding areas.