U-Tapao International Airport Pattaya Expansion & Upgrade
According to a recent article in the newspaper publication ‘The Nation’ the operations director of U-Tapao International Airport, Rear-Admiral Worapol Tongprich was quoted as saying that the new 800 million baht passenger terminal was on track to be completed in August of this year.
A further provision of 1 billion baht has been set aside for future infrastructural improvements both to the runways and taxiways as well as to the navigational aids and communications equipment.
The overwhelming catalyst for this massive cash infusion has been the fourfold year on year increase in passenger numbers and the increased frequency of daily domestic and international flights by popular regional carriers such as Air-Asia and Bangkok Airways, which has obviously put a lot of pressure on the existing airports dated facilities.
According to the Rear Admiral no effort has been spared to update and to bring the airport into line with international aviation standards (ICAO’s) in the interest of passenger and security safety. The hope is to have all the infrastructural improvements in place by the time that the ICAO representations are scheduled to inspect the airport in June 2017.
Personally, I’ve flown out of U-Tapao International Airport several times this month alone and each time has been a pleasant and reasonably trouble free experience, despite it being plainly obvious that improvements to both the number and choice of restaurant, toilet and duty free facilities is badly needed.
In yet another unrelated article this time in the ‘Bangkok Post’ Air-Asia’s chief executive Mr. Tony Fernandes was quoted as saying that his company was eager to boost its position in Thailand with talk of the company’s regional nerve center in Jakarta, Indonesia being possibly relocated to Thailand. Undoubtedly Air-Asia wishes to strengthen its presence in Thailand, which it perceives as the gateway to the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In summary the future outlook for U-Tapao International Airport is extremely promising and these improvements signify yet another addition to a long list of reasons as to why people are choosing to either live or visit destinations such as Pattaya alongside the eastern seaboard of Thailand.