ACV approved as investor for new Tan Son Nhat terminal

By Doan Loan   March 20, 2019 | 02:22 am PT
ACV approved as investor for new Tan Son Nhat terminal
A view of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Hoa
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam will be the investor for the third terminal at HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat airport.

ACV chairman Lai Xuan Thanh said Tuesday that the corporation will also invest in parking lots and relating constructions for the new terminal at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

The airport's new runways will be invested in by the state, Thanh said, adding that this was a concern as delays in arranging capital could prolong construction time.

An airport construction should ideally be invested in entirely by one main company, he said. The state has already struggled to find the budget to repair two damaged runways at the Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports, he added.

In Vietnam, runways are managed by the state, while terminals and parking lots are managed by ACV.

ACV, which manages 23 airports, has calculated that the planned increase in capacity to 50 million passengers a year by 2025 means there will be 300,000-330,000 takeoffs and landings each year at the airport, requiring new runways.

Thanh affirmed that ACV has enough financial capability to invest in the runways. The company has VND87 trillion ($3.75 billion) to spare until 2025, and costs for the airport upgrade is estimated at about VND62 trillion ($2.67 billion).

The rest of the money will be used to invest in the Long Thanh International Airport, Thanh said. Long Thanh, whose construction is scheduled to begin in 2021, is set to be the largest airport in the country with 100 million passengers a year by 2050.

"We can invest in the airport instead of the state, but we need permission and a mechanism to recover our investment," Thanh added.

Jonathan Hanh Nguyen, chairman of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG), which is interested in joining hands with ACV in investing in the terminal of Tan Son Nhat, said that policy obstacles should be removed, given that ACV has the money.

If IPPG were to join, the upgrade of Tan Son Nhat would take three years, he added. His company was an investor in the Cam Ranh International Airport in the central Nha Trang Town.  

Deputy Transport Minister Le Dinh Tho said the ministry is studying plans to use private funding instead of the state budget for the project and will present a plan to the government next month.

The ministry is proposing a change in regulations so that a company can invest in an airport project entirely, just as the Van Don airport has been built by a private company.

ACV had in January submitted a pre-feasibility report for the T3 terminal and related constructions at the Tan Son Nhat airport. It estimated total investment at VND11.43 trillion (492.47 million), which it would fund on its own.

The transport ministry last year approved that the Tan Son Nhat airport incrases its capacity to 50 million in 2025, with 20 million from the third terminal and 30 million from the upgrade of two existing terminals.

Tan Son Nhat served 38 million passengers last year, up 6.4 percent from 2017, way above its designed capacity of 25 million passengers.

The CAAV said in a recent survey that because of the overload, the airport’s service quality remains the lowest among six largest airports in Vietnam.

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