AAT awards free concession to online news agency

29 July 2002

BANGKOK ? The Airports Authority of Thailand (AAT) is to lease space to Pimthai-Xinhua online news agency at Don Muang and regional airports, but intends to wave the concession fee normally required for such a deal.

Sources at the AAT said the news agency would set up big screen TV sets at nine locations in Don Muang International Airport, posting financial and stock news, in addition to foreign exchange rates, gold and oil prices.

The proposal which was put forward by the news agency?s chief, Somnuk Withayaraksan was given verbal approval by AAT governor Therdsak Sajjarak.

The AAT?s financial returns committee, which would oversee the project, said the governor?s verbal agreement to go ahead had forced them to exempt the agency from paying the concession fee, which would cost the company up to 81,000 baht (approx US$1,900) a month.

Instead, the committee would charge only rent and electricity to the agency, as well as cost of the big screen TVs. The exemption would last one year.

ACM Therdsak defended his decision, saying he had the authority to approve such a deal. He added that the agency?s news services would benefit travellers.

The proposed contract, which has yet to be signed, would last for three years, until Nong Ngu Hao opens in 2005.

The lease would also be considered to include similar projects at regional airports: Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north, and Hat Yai and Phuket in Southern Thailand.

Meanwhile, the AAT will tomorrow ask the board for its approval to hire Spa Advertising Co for 74.3 million (US$1.8 million) to take control of its public relations privatisation campaign, and to hire Linklaters Thailand as legal advisors in the privatisation process for 23.8 million baht (US$570,000).

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