AoT told to revise monopolistic airport duty-free concession

A duty-free shop at Suvarnabhumi airport, operated by monopoly concessionaire King Power.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered Airports of Thailand to revise its plan for only one concession for duty-free shops at four main airports to prevent a continuation of the present monopoly, deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said on Friday.

The order affected AoT's plan to select a single concessionaire to run duty-free shops at Suvarnabhumi, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai airports for the next 10 years.

"Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is aware of the direction... The government has listened to concern from many parties, especially the issue of monopoly. So it wants the board and management of AoT to revise the auction direction and thoroughly consider reservations from society and the interest of AoT and the nation," Lt Gen Werachon said.

Gen Prayut also ordered the Transport Ministry to work on the matter with AoT, to ensure the outcome would be fair and in the best interests of the country, Lt Gen Werachon said.

The move followed a repeat filing of an objection by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) to the AoT's plan.

Earlier, AoT stated that a single 10-year-long concession for duty-free shop services at the four main airports would attract prospective investors and make Thailand's duty-free services internationally competitive.

AoT planned to accept bids on April 30, with the new concession to start in September. At present, King Power International Group has the sole licence for duty-free operations.

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