Construction of first leg of high speed rail to Nong Khai expected to start next month
Government officials are confident that the construction of the Thai – Chinese high speed railway between Bangkok and Nong Khai will begin next month as scheduled as the Environmental Impact Assessment report has already been completed and will be forwarded to the Cabinet this month for approval. Construction on the first leg between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima on the 3.5-km section of the railway between Klang Dong and Pang Asok stations in Nakhon Ratchasima is expected to begin by mid-December. Further portions will see designs submitted by the Chinese in the next six months. The second phase will link Nakhon Ratchasima with Nong Khai and bidding on those sections is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.
The Department of Business Development (DBD) reported last week that 6,003 new companies were established in October, an 18 percent increase from the same period last year. Total registered capital for the month was 40 billion baht. The department attributes the growth to government stimulus and growth in the tourism industry, real estate sector and restaurant industry, which were the three sectors with the highest rates of registration in October. In total 61,615 new businesses registered so far this year, up 14 percent compared to the same period last year.
The government plans on beginning light rail projects in four key cities in Thailand next year; Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen, and Nakhon Ratchasima are all slated to start construction next year. The feasibility study has already been completed for Phuket; the system will link Tha Nun in Phang Nga province to Phuket airport and Phuket airport to the inner city covering 60 kilometers. The completed design will be submitted to the Transport Ministry this month. Chiang Mai University has also completed a design plan; one with three lines covering 35 km or a second option with three lines covering a little over 40km. The system will be both above and below ground and is scheduled to propose the development project for Transport Ministry approval this month before submitting it to the Commission for Management of Land Traffic. Khon Kaen has also completed a design for a system that will cover 22.6 km and Nakhon Ratchasima, which is undergoing the EIA, has yet to be submitted.
Qatar Airlines is expanding in Thailand with new direct routes to Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Krabi planned for January 2018 and December 2017 respectively. The airline will begin flights to Chiang Mai four times a week starting December 12 and is the first five-star Middle Eastern airline to start flights to Pattaya. The airline is also starting daily flights to Krabi starting December 1. The airline plans on offering four flights a week from Doha to U-Tapao International Airport starting January 28, 2018. The airline hopes to tap into the huge Russian and Ukrainian markets that visit the beach resort town. The airline currently operates 35 flights a week to Bangkok and 14 flights a week to Phuket. Bangkok Air has strengthened its partnership with the airline by pairing their frequent flyer mileage programs. The tie –up, which started November 1, allows Bangkok Airways' Flyer Bonus members to earn points when travelling on Qatar Airways flights and Qatar Airways' Qmiles members can earn and redeem their miles when travelling on Bangkok Airways operated flights.