Architects call for contest to find design for Vietnam's multibillion-dollar airport

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 Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: baogiaothong
Architects have sent a letter to the Ministry of Transport, asking it to organize a design contest for a multibillion-dollar airport to be built in southern Vietnam in 2019, local media reported. 
The request from the Vietnam Association of Architects came after Airports Corporation of Vietnam, owner of the Long Thanh Airport project, revealed its plan to let a yet-to-be-announced consultant work on both the feasibility study and the design. 
News website Saigon Times Online has reported that Airports Corporation wants to keep the preparations simple so that construction can start in 2019 as planned. The consultant will be chosen through bidding this October. 
However, the architect association argued that the project is an "extremely important gateway" into the country and there has to be a competition to find the best design. 
With a projected cost of $15.8 billion, the airport in Dong Nai Province, about 40 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City, will eventually be able to serve 100 million passengers and 5 million tons of goods annually. 
Architect Ngo Viet Nam Son told the Saigon Times that a design contest is needed. 
He pointed out that the designs of Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai Airports are unimpressive and unoriginal because there was no competition. 
Other experts said that a transparent process will allow Vietnam to find great designs from world leading architects and that rushing to choose a design can lead to corruption. 
The first stage of the project is scheduled for completion in 2023. 
The airport will then be able to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of goods a year, but it will achieve its maximum capacity after the second and third stages.
Vietnamese authorities want Long Thanh to replace the country's currently biggest airport Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, as the latter already reached its designed capacity of 20 million passengers a year in 2013. 

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