Thailand’s U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport is reportedly planning to spend $20.5 million on the construction of a passenger terminal and a new runway. The new terminal is expected to be completed by February 2016 and will start operations from June. It will equip the airport to handle a total of three million passengers annually.
Currently, the airport handles approximately 200,000 passengers and around 400 flights comprising mostly chartered flights from China and Russia.
“We are confident U-Tapao will be a strong new base for flight operations for growing commercial airlines, especially because it will serve as a connection to economic zones in the East and because Pattaya is a rapidly expanding tourism center,” said U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport’s director Wasinsap Chantawarin
A memorandum of understanding had recently been signed between the Royal Thai Navy commander-in-chief Kraisorn Jansuwanit and Transport Minister Prajin Juntong to make the airport serve both as a security operations base and a commercial airport from 1 June 2016.
Thailand is working on increasing the capacity of its airport to accommodate the increase in traffic, Reuters reported.
Tourist arrivals are said to have increased around 27% in the first half of 2015 as compared to the same period in 2014.
Meanwhile, the first commercial flight, AirAsia (Malaysia) AK 840 Kuala Lumpur-U Tapao, took off from the airport on 15 July.