Vietnam’s legislators approve to fast-track multi-billion-dollar airport

By Anh Minh   June 19, 2017 | 06:02 pm GMT+7

The National Assembly has agreed to allow site clearance for Long Thanh Airport to begin at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

The Vietnamese government on Monday won legislative support for a proposed budget of VND23 trillion ($1 billion) so that it can start securing a massive area of land needed for a new airport.

Site clearance has been separated from the construction plan for Long Thanh International Airport, which will be the country’s biggest when it is finished.

The decision will give authorities access to funding so they can relocate residents of Dong Nai Province, where the airport will be built, more quickly and efficiently, while discussions on how to build the massive airport continue.

Currently, the state has only earmarked VND5 trillion for the project, or 21.7 percent of the projected cost. That figure includes money to build houses for around 5,000 displaced people.

Vu Hong Thanh, chairman of the National Assembly’s Economics Committee, said at the Monday meeting that the increasing demand for air travel demand and constant overloading at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City have “made the construction of Long Thanh an urgent issue”.

The airport, which will cover 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres), is expected to replace Tan Son Nhat as the country’s largest airport with an annual capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo. The first part is scheduled for completion in 2025 and will be able to handle 25 million passengers a year.

Tan Son Nhat currently receives 32 million passengers a year, far beyond its designed capacity of 25 million.

But there have been concerns about funding for the new airport. The transport ministry earlier this month said the three-phase project could cost a total of $16 billion.

The ministry in April picked a lotus-themed design for the airport. This choice is being reviewed by the government.