Vietnam's defense minister has promised to hand over 40 hectares of land managed by the military to the transport ministry so that Tan Son Nhat International Airport can be expanded.
General Phung Quang Thanh made the statement in an online conference between the government and provinces and cities on Monday, local media reported.
Thanh said the transport ministry only asked for nine hectares from the defense ministry, but the latter decided to give 20 hectares in the first phase.
The defense ministry acknowledged that the operation of military aircraft at Tan Son Nhat had hindered that of civilian one, Thanh told the meeting.
The airforce stationed in Tan Son Nhat has been relocated to HCMC’s neighboring provinces, he said.
In the second phase, the defense ministry would offer an additional 20 hectares to the transport ministry to expand a road to ease serious traffic congestion outside the airport, Thanh said.
Vietnam's largest airport Tan Son Nhat, which is operating above its designed capacity, will be expanded over the next five years at a cost of VND6.4 trillion (US$283.12 million), local authorities announced in October.
Under the plan, the airport in HCMC will be around eight hectares bigger.
The expansion will allow 82 airplanes to be parked at the same time, twice the current number.
With the exception of runways, many parts of the airport including its terminals will also be upgraded so that it can serve 25 million passengers a year in 2020.
Some experts have repeatedly called on the airport to expand into the adjacent land area managed by the defense ministry. The ministry has also been criticized for building a golf course of 110 hectares within the airport zone.
Minister Thanh said during the online conference that military-owned enterprises paid around $2 billion in taxes to the government in 2015, naming telecom giant Viettel as one of the biggest taxpayers.
“The military does not only spend. It also contributes to the state budget,” he said.