Hanoi, HCMC airport runways maintenance to cost $181 million

By Phuong Dong   March 14, 2019 | 10:08 pm PT
Hanoi, HCMC airport runways maintenance to cost $181 million
Aircraft and transit buses are seen at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam needs to spend VND4.2 trillion ($181.27 million) on the maintenance of runways in the country’s two main airports. 

In a recent report Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation (HSC) said the ACV, which runs 23 airports, is planning to carry out maintenance work at Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in HCMC during the rainy season, which begins in a few months’ time. 

The exact start dates are not known yet. 

HSC said the two runways, 25R/07L in Tan Son Nhat and 1B in Noi Bai, are in a state of disrepair with many cracks and deformities in the asphalt and wheel marks. 

"The maintenance process is expected to take four months and cost about VND4.2 trillion ($181.27 million). The renovation is to ensure flight safety and avoid unexpected shutdowns," HSC quoted the Ministry of Transport as saying.

Furthermore, according to the securities firm, ACV is currently eyeing a public listing on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX). However, the corporation is still negotiating ownership rights over some of ACV’s airport properties with the government, which include the two runways, so these properties are not yet added on to the company’s total net worth. 

HSC predicts the most likely outcome is that the government will own these runways, but ACV will be assigned to operate these assets and retain revenue and profits generated therefrom. Once the negotiations are complete, ACV will meet the requisite conditions to be listed on HNX, and is expected to do so in the second half of 2019. 

The securities firm also believes that given the size of the corporation, ACV could make it to the VN30 basket of the biggest market cap companies on the stock market.

In September 2018 the Ministry of Transport had warned the two runways needed "extremely urgent" repairs. 

Tan Son Nhat airport's runway 25R / 07L is designed to handle B777-300 ERs (very large aircraft used for long-haul flights) and up to 55,100 takeoffs and landings over 10 years. But in less than five years as of April 2018 there had been a total of 126,000 takeoffs and landings.  

Similarly, Noi Bai’s 1B, put into operation in 2003 and designed for around 10,500 takeoffs and landings in 20 years, had handled 284,200 in 15 years.

Vietnam’s airports have been overloaded for many years now, while upgrades are tardy. The biggest airport in Vietnam, Tan Son Nhat, currently handles 36 million passengers a year, way above its designed capacity of 25 million.

Noi Bai handles 24 million while its capacity is 21 million.

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