A three-party consortium that includes Bangkok Airways has emerged as the bidder that made “the best offer” to develop an aviation hub at Thai airport U-Tapao International.

Along with with BTS Group and Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction, the carrier submitted a joint bid for the “U-Tapao International Airport and Eastern Aviation City Development Project” on 21 March 2019.

On 31 January 2020, the project’s selection committee informed BBS Joint Venture that it is “the bidder who proposed the best offer for the minimum revenue [guaranteed] as returns to the state”, Bangkok Airways has disclosed in a stock-exchange filing.

The parties are currently negotiating a draft public-private partnership agreement “as well as any other relevant agreements”, and the airline expects this process to complete by early second quarter.

U-Tapao International comes under Bangkok’s Eastern Economic Corridor project and is a joint civilian/military airport managed by the Royal Thai Navy.

Thailand is looking to develop U-Tapao as an MRO centre. In December 2019, state-owned Thai Airways sought a private-sector partner to jointly develop a new maintenance facility which will be operational in April 2023.