A new U-tapao bus travels past the sign in front of the airport in Ban Chang district of Rayong on Friday. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Three bus routes linking U-tapao with three eastern provinces were introduced on Friday to serve passengers and promote the airport in Rayong.
The Land Transport Department and the Royal Thai Navy jointly introduced the bus routes from the airport to Trat, Ranong and Chon Buri.
The service to Trat includes Chanthaburi on one of its stops, while the Chon Buri route also stops in Pattaya and Sri Racha district.
The routes are operated by private transport firms using air-conditioned buses with GPS tracking systems and another system to monitor their speed.
Department director-general Sanit Promwong said the new services would benefit passengers and promote the airport as a new commercial aviation hub for eastern provinces.
The department plans to introduce buses to serve all 34 airports across the country, including Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Trat.
U-tapao Rayong Pattaya airport is located on navy land and operated by the Airports Department under the Transport Ministry. The government plans to use it to promote tourism in Pattaya and other eastern provinces. It is also expected to take on a bigger role as the Eastern Economic Corridor industrial zone gains momentum.
The government is also planning a 225-billion-baht high-speed train line linking U-tapao with Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Bidding is expected to open this month with a winner to be announced in November. The train service is scheduled to begin operating in 2023.