Delay in repairing Hanoi airport runways continues

By Anh Duy   August 21, 2019 | 05:13 am PT
Delay in repairing Hanoi airport runways continues
Cracks are seen on a runway at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
Vietnam’s airport operator is still not allowed to invest in repairing runways at the Noi Bai International Airport.

After the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) was equitized in 2017, the runways fell under state management, while the corporation managed terminals and parking lots of 21 airports in the country. The state, therefore, is responsible for allocating funds for repairs and maintenance.

The Ministry of Transport reportedly lacks funds to carry out the repairs, while the ACV, which says it has the money, is not allowed to do the job.

"The fact that ACV has the money but is not allowed to invest it is absurd," Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh said last month.

The transport ministry in March had proposed that ACV be allowed to advance VND4.2 trillion ($181.43 million) for the repair of runways at the major airports in Hanoi and HCMC, but the proposal awaits approval.

Recent examinations of the two runways show that they have cracks and deformities. One of them has two tire marks, each 1-meter wide.

Taxiway quality has also degraded. One of them was closed for 10 days for maintenance before resuming Tuesday with limited operations.

The damage to the runways and taxiways has been talked about since 2016, but it has not been fixed adequately, even as the airport continues to be overloaded.

Tran Hoai Phuong, Director of the Northern Airports Authority, said that the runways are designed to serve on average 37 flights per hour, but there are days when this reaches 42. "A complete repair of all the damages is urgent," he told VnExpress.

The two runways at the Noi Bai Airport started operating in 2003. The runways were designed to accommodate B747-400 aircraft with 10,500 landings and takeoffs in 20 years. However, as of April 2018, this number had already soared to 284,200.

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