Thailand’s Board of Investment Announces U-Tapao Airport Expansion Plans

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Airport to See Increase in Passenger and MRO Activity

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The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), today announced that plans are underway to significantly expand U-Tapao International Airport in Rayong.

Currently used by AirAsia to connect flights to Northeast Thailand, Phuket and Chiang Mai, and Bangkok Airways, Kan Air, and China Southern Airlines, the airport is located about 150 km from Bangkok and 30 km from Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand.

Owned and managed by the Royal Thai Navy, U-Tapao International Airport was built in the 1960s at a site in Ban Chang district, Rayong province, to serve as a U.S. military base for B52s. At the time it had the longest runway in Thailand, it remains the home base of the Thai Navy’s 1st air wing squadron.

The airport is undergoing construction of 49 bays and two aviation bridges. When completed, it will be able to accommodate more than 62,000 flights a year and increase passenger traffic from 800,000 to over three million passengers a year.

There are plans to expand the routes it serves to include European carriers to further open up the country to international visitors and offer an alternative to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. There are also plans to develop U-Tapao Airport into a major Asian MRO hub, which can provide maintenance and repair services in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Aerospace and aviation are key industries in Thailand,” said Korbsiri Iamsuri, Director of Thailand Board of Investment in North America, “The expansion of the U-Tapao International Airport for commercial traffic and for maintenance and repair operations, will further enhance our already strong offering in the aerospace sector.”

At the heart of Asia, Thailand today is a full-service aerospace hub and major player in the region’s multi-billion dollar aircraft maintenance and manufacturing industries. The country has the infrastructure in place for repair services, including the overhaul of aircraft engines, and is already a major hub for the electronics and electrical appliances (E&E) industry, which opens opportunities for cluster development of avionics and communications equipment. MRO organizations in Thailand include Thai Airways International, Thai Aviation Industries, Triumph Aviation Services Asia, Eurocopter, and Scandinavian Aircraft Maintenance Co., Ltd.

The technical department of Thai Airways International, which operates one of its three facilities at U-Tapao International Airport, is one of the leading MRO service providers in Asia, with more than 45 years of experience. It has received the “Requalifier Identification Certificate” from the U.S. Department of Transportation, signifying top quality for aircraft emergency equipment maintenance processes. Thai Airways International presently offers out of U-Tapao, heavy maintenance services for both C-Check and D-Check on three aircrafts simultaneously.

Many aviation companies are benefitting from growth in the country’s aviation industry. Among these are Weston, Primus, Driessen, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, and Airports of Thailand Plc (AOT). US companies like GE, Chromalloy and Triumph have already made significant investments in Thailand to take advantage of the country’s ancillary electronics and automotive industries that also provide developed and available suppliers for cost-effective and efficient production.

About BOI
The Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) is the investment promotion agency for Thailand that facilitates foreign direct investment. BOI’s services are free of charge and customized to help business succeed in Thailand. For more information, please visit and

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