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U-Tapao International Airport

Coordinates: 12°40′47″N 101°00′18″E / 12.67972°N 101.00500°E / 12.67972; 101.00500
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U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport

ท่าอากาศยานอู่ตะเภา ระยอง–พัทยา
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerRoyal Thai Navy
OperatorDepartment of Airports
LocationBan Chang, Rayong, Thailand
Opened2 June 1966; 58 years ago (1966-06-02)
Operating base for
Elevation AMSL42 ft / 13 m
Coordinates12°40′47″N 101°00′18″E / 12.67972°N 101.00500°E / 12.67972; 101.00500
UTP/VTBU is located in Rayong Province
Location of airport in Rayong Province
UTP/VTBU is located in Bay of Bangkok
Location of airport in the Bay of Bangkok
UTP/VTBU is located in Thailand
Location of airport in Thailand
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18/36 3,505 11,500 Asphalt
Total passengers (2018)[1]1,860,794
Source: DAFIF[2][3]

U-Tapao–Rayong–Pattaya International Airport (IATA: UTP, ICAO: VTBU), also spelled Utapao and U-Taphao, is a joint civil–military public international airport serving the cities of Rayong and Pattaya in eastern Thailand. It is in the Ban Chang district of Rayong province.[4][5]

It also serves as the U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, home of the Royal Thai Navy First Air Wing. U-Tapao is the home of a large Thai Airways maintenance facility, servicing that airline's aircraft as well as those of other customers.[6] Due to the blockade of Bangkok's airports by opposition protesters, U-Tapao briefly became the main air gateway to Thailand between 26 November and 5 December 2008. As both of Bangkok's international airports essential to the country's tourist boom are operating beyond capacity as of 2015,[7][8] U-Tapao in particular has been eyed as an alternate international gateway due to its relative proximity to the capital.


U-Tapao lies approximately 90 miles (140 km) southeast of Bangkok, south of Sukhumvit Road at Km. 189, near Sattahip on the Gulf of Thailand, about a 45-minute drive from Pattaya (Thailand's most popular beach resort).


Vietnam War[edit]

U-Tapao was built by the United States to accommodate B-52 bombers for missions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia during the Vietnam War.[9] Construction began on 15 October 1965 and was completed on 2 June 1966.[10] U-Tapao was the primary Southeast Asian airfield for USAF B-52 bombers, called "Bee-hasip-sawng" (B-52) by the local Thais.[11] U-Tapao was a front-line base along with the other US bases at Korat, Udon, Ubon, Nakhon Phanom, and Takhli. The USAF B-52s made regular sorties over North Vietnam and North Vietnamese-controlled areas in Laos, carrying an average of 108 500-pound and 750-pound bombs per mission. U-Tapao was a regular stop on Bob Hope's Christmas shows for the troops.[12]

November 2008 protests in Bangkok[edit]

With the temporary closure of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in late November 2008 because they had been occupied by anti-government protestors, U-Tapao became for a time Thailand's main supplementary international gateway. Many airlines arranged special flights to and from U-Tapao to ferry international passengers stranded by the closure of the Suvarnabhumi Airport.[13][14][15][16][17] Several governments including Italy, Macau and Spain also sent chartered flights to evacuate residents.

As many as 100,000 passengers were stranded in Thailand until early December. Although its runway can accommodate large aircraft, U-Tapao's terminals are not designed to handle more than a few flights a day. Travellers were subject to many hardships, and as the security was not up-to-date, some US-bound flights were diverted to Japan and their passengers required to go through a supplementary security check before continuing.[15]

Airport expansion[edit]

As Bangkok's two international airports are operating beyond capacity, the government intends to turn U-Tapao into a third major destination for airlines. A new second terminal will increase airport capacity from 800,000 to three million persons per year. Terminal 2 was partially opened in November 2018 and was officially opened in February 2019.[18]

There were also 41 direct flights landing from China weekly.[19] Airport director, Rear Admiral Worapol Tongpricha, said the 620 million baht terminal is the start of a three-year, first-phase development. In the second phase, the government will boost the capacity further to 15 million passengers per year.[20]

In November 2022, the Thai Government approved another expansion plan for U-Tapao, to increase its capacity to 60 million passengers per year. It is planned to add a new runway, taxiways and facilities to increase Pattaya's and Bangkok's air passenger capacity, and also boost connections to the Eastern Economic Corridor.[21]


In late-2018, King Power was awarded a ten-year contract to operate U-Tapao duty-free shops. A partnership between Thai retailer Central Department Store Company (Central Group) and DFS Group will manage retail shops and services, mainly food and beverage, also for 10 years.[22]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

AirAsia Kuala Lumpur–International[23]
Azur Air Seasonal charter: Irkutsk,[24] Krasnoyarsk-International,[24] Moscow-Vnukovo,[24] Novosibirsk,[24] Samara,[24] Tomsk,[25] Yekaterinburg[24]
Bangkok Airways Koh Samui, Phuket
flydubai Dubai–International
Okay Airways Changsha[26]
Thai Lion Air Chiang Mai
Thai Summer Airways Macau[27]

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  1. ^ "Passenger statistics for 2015–2019" (PDF). U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport (in Thai).
  2. ^ "Airport information for VTBU". World Aero Data. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link) Data current as of October 2006. Source: DAFIF.
  3. ^ Airport information for UTP at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  4. ^ "U Tapao-Pattaya International Airport" (PDF). U Tapao Airport Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  5. ^ "Home". U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Thai Airways International: Technical Department --- U-Tapao Second Maintenance Center ---". www.thaitechnical.com. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008.
  7. ^ "New terminal to boost U-Tapao Airport".
  8. ^ "Don Mueang is world's busiest LCC". The Nation. 15 September 2015.
  9. ^ Janssen, Peter (6 June 2017). "Military airbase set for commercial take-off in Thailand". Asia Times. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  10. ^ "History". U-Tapao Rayong Pattaya International Airport. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  11. ^ Ellis, John. "U-Tapao Air Base" (Historical photos). Cohojohn.tripod.com. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Bob Hope Visit". Thailand Dog Handlers. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  13. ^ "ANA International Flight Status". Fli.ana.co.jp.
  14. ^ "Cathay Pacific". Cathay Pacific.
  15. ^ a b "Latest update on Bangkok, Utapao and Europe flights". EVA Airways. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  16. ^ "THAI Operates 34 Special Inbound and Outbound Flights on 2 December 2008". THAI. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  17. ^ Page 6, South China Morning Post, 30 November 2008.[not specific enough to verify]
  18. ^ "Terminal 2 at U-Tapao airport to be fully opened in February". The Nation. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Home". utapao.com.
  20. ^ "U-Tapao airport takes new leap". Bangkok Post. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  21. ^ Mail, Pattaya (6 November 2022). "Massive expansion approved for U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport". Pattaya Mail. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  22. ^ Moodie, Martin (21 November 2018). "King Power wins U-Tapao Airport duty free contract; Central Group/DFS alliance gains duty paid and services". The Moodie Davitt Report. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  23. ^ "AirAsia Resumes Kuala Lumpur – Utapao Service in June 2024". AeroRoutes. Retrieved 18 March 2024.
  24. ^ a b c d e f "AZUR Air Expands Phuket Network in NW23". AeroRoutes. 2 November 2023. Retrieved 2 November 2023.
  25. ^ "Авиакомпания AZUR air открывает прямые рейсы из Томска в Паттайю". tomskairport.ru. ООО «Аэропорт ТОМСК». Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  26. ^ "Okay Airways Expands International Service From late-June 2023". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  27. ^ "Thai Summer Airways Lists Taipei Schedule from April 2023". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  28. ^ "Hijacking description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 5 August 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to U-Tapao International Airport at Wikimedia Commons