U-TAPAO International Airport passenger numbers are expected to double this year and new investment of Bt200 billion to expand the airport’s capacity.

A master plan for the development of the whole airport is expected to be completed early next year. The project will include a new runway, air-cargo facilities, an aviation training centre, and an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul centre, with combined land use of up to 6,500 rai (1040 hectares).

It will take about five years for construction to be completed. The new airport will be connected by high-speed rail to the two international airports in Bangkok – Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi.

U-Tapao would lead to the development of an “aviation city” spanning 30 kilometres, covering parts of Rayong province and the eastern resort of city of Pattaya.

In the long term, the airport could expand its capacity to accommodate 60 million passengers a year, equivalent to Suvarnabhumi’s capacity. The new investment is expected to ease air traffic congestion in Bangkok amid the tourism boom.

Report by : The Nation