Central DFS Co., Ltd. has signed a contract with the Royal Thai Navy to operate retail and service areas at Terminal 2 of U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, covering 1,400.5m2 in area, with a retail and services concession running for 10 years.

Central DFS Director Yuwadee Chirathivat said that the company was confident in the potential of U-Tapao International Airport, as part of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) special economic zone, being an important regional airport with a capacity of 3 million passengers annually. There are obvious opportunities for a strong collaboration between the two companies bidding for the retail and services concession. Central Group has over 72 years of retail expertise and has now expanded to many business sectors with over 3,700 stores in Thailand and operations in an additional 17 countries around the world. DFS Ventures Singapore has been in the luxury tourist retail industry for over 59 years and is a world-class operator of duty-free and retail spaces in airports and downtown duty-free outlets in 13 countries on 4 continents, including Singapore’s Changi Airport, as well as San Francisco and Los Angeles Airport in the USA.

The retail and service outlets include Auntie Anne’s, KFC, Segafredo, Mr. Cup T, Amazon, Coffee World, New York Deli, and Drinks & Quick Bites. The Eatery Gardens offers delicious, freshly-cooked dishes with open-kitchen style restaurants, in a relaxing atmosphere. There are shops such as the Central DFS Shop with Thai souvenirs, fashion, cosmetics and travelling products, catering to tourist tastes. The Thai Favourites chain offers renowned Thai food products and snacks, alongside B2S, Boots and souvenir shops. There are also currency exchange counters and a mobile phone SIM shop, for the convenience of tourists and customers at the airport.

The clarity, transparency and accountability of the Royal Thai Navy’s concession bidding process is considered a standard for such auctions. Central is committed to develop and promote the commercial space at U-Tapao International Airport together with the Royal Thai Navy, as an important destination and gateway to Thailand’s eastern seaboard, which will attract tourists, international business people and Thais to experience an impressive and memorable diversity of products and services.

U-Tapao International Airport Director, Vice Adm. Luechai Sri-eamgool, said that the government had a policy to develop U-Tapao International Airport as the country’s third major commercial airport, to deal with the growth of both domestic and international aviation. This has resulted in the construction of a second passenger terminal to increase the airport’s passenger capacity. In developing the airport to international standards, it has been necessary to provide facilities and enhance the quality of services for the convenience of passengers. U-Tapao International Airport thus opened bidding for Thai companies in the retail and service sectors. The auction resulted in the airport granting concession rights to Central DFS Co., Ltd for its plan to invest in, and develop, 1,400.5m2 of space for retail and service outlets at Terminal 2, U-Tapao International Airport.

For this year, up until May, the airport has 16 airlines, offering 32 routes, from 4 countries which include China, Russia, Malaysia and the UK, servicing over 1 million passengers. These comprise of 45% domestic and 55% international passengers (50% Russian, 40% Chinese, 3% Kazakh and 3% Malaysian). Most Russian tourists arrive as part of a group tour, whilst domestic travellers are foreign individual tourists. Over 2 million passengers are expected in 2019.

From previous experience, it can be seen that wherever Central Group has developed shopping malls, department stores and other businesses, the total economy of that area or province improves. In the same way, it is hoped that the number of flights and tourists using U-Tapao International Airport from various countries will also increase. The airport is now fully equipped with the facilities needed to provide services and amenities for travellers. This will help develop and increase revenues for SMEs in the Eastern Region, ready to upgrade the quality of life for surrounding communities.

Central DFS Co., Ltd. is confident that U-Tapao International Airport will become another important place for tourism and logistic systems, due to its location being just 30 km from Pattaya, one of the country’s key tourist destinations. U-Tapao International Airport is administered by the Royal Thai Navy and is located in the vicinity of many industrial sites in Rayong and Chonburi. As such it is convenient for travel to the East of Thailand and will become another major Thai airport bringing revenues into Thailand.