Thailand to begin construction of $9 bln aviation city this year

BANGKOK, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Thailand will begin construction on the 290-billion baht ($8.82 billion) U-Tapao aviation city early this year, a government spokesperson said on Friday.

The project will generate 15,600 additional jobs in the first five years and drive growth in Thailand's aviation industry, Tipanan Sirichana said in statement.

The investment plan is slated to turn the Vietnam-war era U-Tapao airport into a new international airport linked up with a budget terminal, Don Muang airport, and the country's main Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The public-private project located in Thailand's industrial east will cover 1,040 hectares (2,570 acres) and is aimed at attracting tourists, said Tipanan.

The project named "Eastern Aviation City" will also include a free trade zone for cargo, an aviation training centre and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities, a government website shows.

($1 = 32.8800 baht)

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat, Writing by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor

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