BANGKOK (Xinhua) — The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) told the media on Saturday the 220-km-long high-speed rail project linking Thailand’s three airports will be delayed.
The three airports to be linked with high speed rail include Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao.
“The budget to demolish infrastructure to make way for the new high-speed system has not been approved,” said SRT Governor Nirut Maneephan, “without the budget approval, then first phase of the rail construction will have to be delayed.
An agreement on the project of a high-speed rail linking three airports in Thailand was signed in late 2019.
The project is a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and consortium, led by Charoen Pokphand Holding Co. and consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC).
The 7.22-billion-U.S.-dollar rail project is targeted to bring economic development to Thailand’s tourism and business sectors, linking Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakarn province and U-tapao airport in Rayong province and stretching its reach to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
PM Pledges Help to Aviation Industry
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday told the media that he has agreed to assist the country’s domestic low-cost airlines in their survival as air restrictions worldwide have grounded their aircraft during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Seven of Thailand’s domestic low-cost airlines on Friday approached Prayut, to air their grievances and to submit their request for support.
“The aviation industry is suffering as much as the tourism sector, so my administration has agreed to inject 24 billion baht (771 million U.S. dollars) in soft loans for the domestic airlines, hopefully to sail through this turbulent period,” said Prayut.
The seven airlines that were promised a new lease of life include Thai Air Asia, Thai Smile, Thai Lion Air, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air.
“The soft loans will only be possible if these airlines will agree to retain their staff members,” said the prime minister.
There are approximately 20,000 staff members from the seven airlines whose jobs are at stake.
The prime minister also said that his government has agreed to extend the reduced excise tax to the end of March next year, the 50 percent cut in landing and take-off charges, as well as aircraft storage fees.
These tax cuts were all due to expire at the end of this year.