Vietnam to invest $7.8 billion in major airport

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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A rendering of the Long Thanh Airport in Dong Nai Province. File photo A rendering of the Long Thanh Airport in Dong Nai Province. File photo

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The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has submitted its latest investment plan for the US$7.8 billion Long Thanh Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai.
Due to its high cost, the planned airport, located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, will receive investment in two stages -- starting in 2016 and 2023 respectively.
The first stage, will cost $5.66 billion and consist of a runway and a station with a capacity to serve 17 million passengers annually.
The second stage will be built in 2023 to increase the capacity to 25 million passengers in 2025.
In the first stage, ACV proposed to mobilize a total of $2.7 billion in government funds, bonds and foreign official development assistance (ODA) to build a main runway, taxiways, a parking area and electrical and water systems.
Other sections including the actual terminal and repair facilities will be built through a public-private partnership (PPP) investment worth US$2.9 billion.
The ACV proposed seeking ODA from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and Japan, the US, France and South Korea.
A number investors have reportedly offered to invest in the airport under PPP including French ADP, Samsung, South Korea's Incheon Airport and Japanese corporations.
The $7.8 billion mega project will have to be voted on by lawmakers before work begins in 2016.
The airport is expected to become a major transit point in South East Asia when it opens in 2023.
The idea of building Long Thanh Airport was actually first considered in the 1980s.
Luong Hoai Nam, former general director of Jetstar Pacific Airlines, said the idea wasn't carried out before other major airports in the region were built, including Changi in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Suvarnabhumi in Thailand.
“The Long Thanh Airport was constructed late because Vietnam had other priorities. Now Vietnam is paying the price for this,” the aviation expert was quoted by Tien Phong newspaper as saying.
At a recent conference, International Air Transport Association CEO Tony Tyler said Vietnam still has a chance to succeed with the Long Thanh Airport, despite the presence of multiple major transit airports in the region.
Vietnam is located in the Asia Pacific region which sees up to 37 percent of international flight routes, he said.

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