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Construction of new airport in southern Vietnam urgent and essential: transport minister

The construction of a new airport in southern Vietnam is more than necessary, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said in a report sent to lawmakers on Friday, in his latest bid to sell the multibillion-dollar project.

The construction of a new airport in southern Vietnam is more than necessary, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said in a report sent to lawmakers on Friday, in his latest bid to sell the multibillion-dollar project.
The construction of a new airport in southern Vietnam is more than necessary, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said in a report sent to lawmakers on Friday, in his latest bid to sell the multibillion-dollar project.

The government has made some amendments in the latest report, compared to the one issued six months ago.

But the transport ministry and the government said in both documents that it is “urgent and essential” to build the Long Thanh International Airport project in the eponymous district in Dong Nai Province, around 50km from Ho Chi Minh City.

The report has been delivered to lawmakers, who are sitting for the weeks-long 9th session of the National Assembly in Hanoi.

The lawmaking National Assembly is scheduled to discuss the Long Thanh issue on June 4, and consider passing a resolution in principle to invest in the airport on June 25.

The project must get a go-ahead from the National Assembly to be really implemented.

The transport ministry said last year the airport is expected to cost $18.7 billion, but new calculation has reduced the estimates to only $15.8 billion.

The first phase of construction is estimated to consume $5.2 billion, instead of $7.8 billion. The respective capital needed for the next two phases is $3.8 billion and $7 billion, according to the previous report.

The transport ministry has repeatedly proved the necessity of the new airport by saying that Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport will become overloaded in the next two years.

The airport, which has been serving 20 million passengers a year since 2013, is expected to reach its maximum capacity of 25 million passengers in 2016 or 2017 and a new airport must be built to share its burden, according to the transport ministry.

The view was reiterated in the new report, with the government asserting that the Ho Chi Minh City terminal is now overloaded in all aspects.

The airport lacks parking space whereas its passenger and cargo terminals, airplane aprons and airspace are always busy, according to the report.

In the meantime, it is unfeasible to increase the capacity of the airport to be able to handle 40 million or 50 million passengers a year, or to renovate the Bien Hoa airport, also located in Dong Nai, the report said.

“The [Long Thanh] has a high economic internal rate of return and thus, high feasibility,” the report said.

“The project is totally capable of recouping investment and repaying its debts on time.”