Nocturnal fix to offer Tan Son Nhat airport runway temporary respite

By Nguyen Quy   February 24, 2020 | 01:33 am PT
Nocturnal fix to offer Tan Son Nhat airport runway temporary respite
Aircraft land in HCMC's Tan Son Nhat Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
Authorities at Saigon's Tan Son Nhat Airport are seeking permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to repair its damaged runway at night.

The 25R/07L runway, which has suffered serious damage, is expected to be closed from midnight to 7 a.m. daily between February 27 and March 9 this year to better serve maintenance work and repairs.

"This is just temporary maintenance ahead of major renovation. The cost is covered by Tan Son Nhat International Airport," a representative said.

Overload has caused visible cracks and deformation along the runway, with airplane wheel marks scarring its surface. Besides, subsidence of its asphalt concrete surface poses potential danger to aviation safety.

Tan Son Nhat Airport's runway 25R/07L was designed to handle B777-300 ERs (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.  

Vietnam’s airports have been overloaded for many years, with upgrades tardy. Damage to runways and taxiways has been reported since 2016, though few repairs have been completed amid rising overload.

The Ministry of Transport estimates runway and taxiway renovation costs for both airports at around VND4.5 trillion ($195 million).

Earlier this year, Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), which runs all 22 civil airports in the country, sought government approval to repair downgraded runways and taxiways at Vietnam's two largest airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

ACV confirmed if no repair work is carried out, downgraded runways and taxiways must be shut down.

Tan Son Nhat, the largest airport in Vietnam, received over 40 million passangers in 2019, 1.6 times higher than its intended capacity of 25 million per year, while Hanoi's Noi Bai handled 29 million compared to design capacity of 21 million, official data revealed.

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