One more private investor seeks rights to operate Phu Quoc Airport

By Thai Son, Thanh Nien News

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 Phu Quoc Airport. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach

Another Vietnamese company has offered to buy operating rights to the sole airport on the southern resort island of Phu Quoc, after the government announced a historic plan to privatize the country's airports.
Ho Chi Minh City-based Imex Pan-Pacific Group is the latest investor to make the offer to the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said on Monday.
Also known as IPP, the group currently operates a chain of duty-free shops and fast-food restaurants at airports around Vietnam. It is also a shareholder of the Tan Son Nhat Airport-based Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company.
Previously, T&T Group, a real estate company in Hanoi, also offered to purchase the airport, which received 95,720 passengers in the first quarter, up 44.61 percent year on year.
Several foreign companies have expressed their interest as well, although the privatization plan is off-limits for them at the moment, news website Saigon Times Online reported, quoting an unnamed source from the ministry as saying.
According to the plan, which was announced in February and is now awaiting the government’s approval, Phu Quoc Airport’s operating rights will be transferred to investors, all or partially, under an operation and maintenance agreement with a definite term.
CAAV chief Lai Xuan Thanh was quoted as saying that investors will be responsible for operating aviation and non-aviation services, maintaining aviation infrastructure, and organizing and guaranteeing the airport’s operations.
Meanwhile, the government will continue managing services of immigration, aviation safety, air control and aerial territories, as well as the quality and prices of services provided by investors.
The largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc has been gaining popularity among tourists in recent years.
Statistics from local authorities showed that over 586,000 tourists visited the island last year, up 37.6 percent year on year.
Foreign arrivals accounted for 21.3 percent, amounting to 125,000 tourists – an increase of 21.5 percent from the year before.

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