Vietnam private investor eyes $1 billion airport expansion

Thanh Nien News

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An undated file photo of a Vietnam Airlines aircraft at Chu Lai Airport, which a private investor hopes to expand at a cost of $1 billion. An undated file photo of a Vietnam Airlines aircraft at Chu Lai Airport, which a private investor hopes to expand at a cost of $1 billion.

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A real estate conglomerate based in the central province of Quang Ngai has become the latest to enter the aviation sector, which has recently been thrown open to private investors.
Thien Tan Group is working with two partners from South Korea and the US for a feasibility study to expand Chu Lai Airport in Quang Nam Province at an estimated cost of US$1 billion, news website Dau Tu reported Tuesday, citing the company’s chairman, Huynh Kim Lap.
The expansion would be done under a build-operate-transfer agreement with the Ministry of Transport, he said.
The 3,400-hectare airport in Nui Thanh District, more than 40 kilometers south of Quang Ngai Province, serves 34 flights a week to and from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City operated by Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam Airlines, and Vietjet Air.
Last week Sun Group, another real estate giant, sought the government's permission to build a domestic airport in the northern highlands province of Lao Cai at an estimated cost of VND1.3 trillion ($57.46 million).
The company has reportedly secured approval for building another airport, this one near Ha Long Bay.
Besides seeking private investment in new airports, the ministry has also been looking to sell rights to manage some of the country’s 22 existing airports and provide services like fuel supply and flight information.
The Vietnamese airline market is forecast to grow by 19 percent this year to 45 million passengers, Dau Tu quoted analysts as saying.
The domestic sector would grow by 23.4 percent to more than 26.2 million passengers, it said.
While Vietnam would need around VND1,000 trillion ($44.52 billion) for transport projects over the next five years, the government can raise less than 29 percent of that, the ministry said in a report last year.

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