Two runways at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City may be shut down due to serious deterioration.
Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho highlighted the issue in a report to the Ministry of Finance. According to Tho, runway 07L/25R at Tan Son Nhat Airport has many cracks and shows signs of subsidence. Runway 1B at Noi Bai Airport is also in a similar condition.
“Despite the deterioration, both the runways are still being overused, threatening aviation safety. Repair and maintenance are urgent and necessary,” he said.
Lai Xuan Thanh, chairman of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), said the runway at Tan Son Nhat Airport was repaired and put into use since 2013 for the Boeing 777 – 300 ER and 55,100 aircraft landings and take-offs per year for 10 years. But by the end of April, the runway already had experienced 126,000 landings and take-offs.
The runway at Noi Bai Airport was opened in 2003 and had capacity for 10,500 landings and take-offs per year for 20 years. It had 284,200 landing/take-offs by the end of April.
Thanh acknowledged that the two runways were at risk of being shut down if they are not repaired and upgraded in time. “If they are shut down, it will put more pressure on two other runways and also affect aviation safety and the number of flights,” Thanh said.
The Ministry of Transport has asked the prime minister to allocate fund for an estimated VND4.5trn (USD194m) repair and maintenance project. However, Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said the Ministry of Transport was asked to balance their allocated budget and admitted that there were no funds for repairs and new fence which will cost VND250bn.
Thang said they were completing an apron management plan and will submit the plan to the Ministry of Transport and the prime minister soon.
The Ministry of Transport suggested that the Ministry of Finance let ACV use revenue from apron area activities to repair the runways. If it is approved, the ministry will guide ACV on technical standards and financial issues and submit a report to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.
ACV said that they were keeping landing and take-off fees for the government to decide but it was not enough. If the management authority is transferred to ACV, it could use its own funds.