Vietnam looks to expedite work on giant airport project

By    July 28, 2016 | 02:55 pm GMT+7

This could be the first time anything at an airport has taken off two years ahead of schedule.

The Vietnamese government might get the construction of the $16 billion Long Thanh International Airport underway sooner than planned to meet the rapidly increasing demand of one of the fastest-growing airline markets in the Asia-Pacific region.

Local authorities in the southern province of Dong Nai have asked the central government to release VND1 trillion ($45 million) from state investment arm SCIC and approve a government bond issuance so that the southern province has enough funds to relocate 4,200 families from the 5,000 hectare site.

Construction of Long Thanh's terminal and runways will start in 2019, two years ahead of schedule. The airport, 40 kilometers away from the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City, is expected to become a regional transit hub.

The airport will be built in three separate phases from 2018 to 2050, with a targeted annual capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of goods.

Upon completion of the first phase by 2025, the airport will handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo a year.

Stage one is expected to cost nearly $6 billion.

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Long Than is expected to be a regional transit hub to rival Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok. The construction will run in three separate phases from 2018-2050, starting with some $6 billion from 2018-2025.

Vietnamese lawmakers approved the construction of Long Thanh International Airport in June last year.

According to the National Assembly, funding for the project will come from the state budget, foreign and domestic private investment and overseas development aid.

The planning for the airport should be completed no later than 2018. For the next step, the Prime Minister will give Dong Nai Province approval to kick off site clearance and relocation plans.

Provincial authorities said site clearance, compensation and relocation of local residents will be time consuming. It might take up to three years before Dong Nai can hand over the necessary infrastructure to the main investor, which is a state-run airport operator Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

Any delays could pose a risk to the target of putting the airport into operation by 2025, said provincial officials.

Dong Nai has urged the government to allow the province to get down to site clearance and compensation this year, about two years sooner than previously planned.

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