The Ministry of Transport has affirmed that the recent transfer of three regional airports to the control of Airports of Thailand (AoT) was approved as a cost-cutting measure and does not constitute a sale of state assets.
Its statement was in response to earlier concerns that the transfer may have violated the law because no other parties were permitted to compete for the right to operate the airports. The ministry clarified that the management transfer of the UdonThani, Krabi and Buri Ram airports from the Department of Airports (DoA) to AoT was part of a commercial airport development master plan to revamp the airport network and streamline airspace management.
The agency also said no laws were breached because no state properties or assets were transferred to a private firm, adding that AoT remained a state enterprise even though some of its shares are being traded on the stock market.
According to the ministry, AoT will be required to enter a contract with the Treasury Department to lease the land and rent the facilities upon taking over the management of the airports. Additionally, AoT must accept the rules of commercial development of airports, which require the agency to levy a fee.
The DoA meanwhile said AoT’s involvement in operating the three airports would contribute to the expansion of the airports’ overall transportation and logistical capacities, thereby stimulating economic growth.
In exchange, AoT has promised to support the DoA in developing the department’s remaining regional airports. (NNT)