Lao Cai wants state to cover bulk of Sa Pa airport investment

By Anh Minh   April 10, 2019 | 06:04 pm PT
Lao Cai wants state to cover bulk of Sa Pa airport investment
Total investment in Sa Pa airport is estimated to cost $254 million. Photo by Shutterstock/Cuu Studio
The state should provide 52 percent of the investment needed for the Sa Pa Airport, provincial authorities say.

Authorities in the northern province of Lao Cai, where travel hotspot Sa Pa is located, have said in a letter to the Prime Minister that it needs VND3.09 trillion ($133 million) from the state to build the airport.

This amount accounts for 52 percent of total investment, which is estimated at VND5.9 trillion ($254 million).

Private companies will invest 30 percent, or VND1.78 trillion ($77 million) in a public-private-partnership model where they will operate the airport to recover investment before handling it back to the state.

Lao Cai Province will invest 15 percent, or VND910 billion ($39 million), for land acquisition and relocation, while the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) will invest the remaining 2 percent, VND132 billion ($5 million), for air traffic control facilities at the airport.

The province is currently completing its feasibility report for the airport, whose construction is scheduled to start this year and get completed in 2021.

The project has been approved by the Ministry of Transport and needs final permission from the Prime Minister to begin construction.

The airport, used for both civilian and military purposes, will be located in Bao Yen District, 120 kilometers away from Sa Pa.

Lao Cai welcomed 4.2 million visitors last year, up 20 percent from 2017. 720,000 of them were international tourists.

In the past a large number of tourists traveled to the town by train from Hanoi to Lao Cai. But since the $1.5-billion Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway was opened in September 2014, many have found a five-hour bus ride more appealing than an eight-hour trip on the train.

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