The construction of a civil and military airport in the growing resort town began Sunday, marking for the first time the partnership of state and private investors in an airport project.
The mixed-use facility, in the south-central province of Binh Thuan, will cost around VND5.6 trillion (US$262.47 million) to build.
When it becomes operational in 2018, Vietnam will be home to 23 international and domestic airports.
The 543-hectare (1,341-acre) airport will be able to serve 500,000 passengers per year, according to the government website. It will consist of one 2,400-meter long runway and one 5,000-square-meter terminal.
Its capacity is expected to double in 2030, local media reported.
The Vietnamese-owned Rang Dong Group invests in the airport’s civil section that will cover around 80 percent of its area, while 319 Corporation under the Ministry of Defense is in charge of its military part.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said Phan Thiet's is the first-ever airport to be built under the form of build-operate-transfer (BOT) in Vietnam, which made it a “breakthrough” in the country’s aviation sector.
BOT is an investment model that the government hopes can help attract funding from non-state sources into costly infrastructure projects.
In other related news, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has allowed Vinh Airport in the central province of Nghe An to serve international flights, local media reported.
The airport currently serves flights between Vinh Town and HCMC, Hanoi, Da Nang and the central highlands resort town of Buon Ma Thuot.
A new terminal that covers 11,706 square meters at the airport was slated to open this month end, with a designed capacity of 2 million passengers per year.
All of Vietnam's eight international and 14 domestic airports are now operated by the state-owned Airports Corporation of Vietnam.