Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand is set to begin construction on an aviation city worth 290 billion THB (8.8 billion USD) and located in its industrial east early this year, according to an official source.

The investment plan is slated to turn U-Tapao airport into a new international airport linked up with a budget terminal, Don Muang airport, and the country's main Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The public-private project, named "Eastern Aviation City", will cover 1,040 ha and aims at attracting tourists. It will also include a free trade zone for cargo, an aviation training centre and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities.

The project will generate 15,600 additional jobs in the first five years and drive growth in Thailand's aviation industry, Tipanan Sirichana, the government's deputy  spokesperson, said in a statement./.