Major Vietnam airports have ‘seriously downgraded’ runways

By Doan Loan   June 14, 2018 | 01:28 am PT
Major Vietnam airports have ‘seriously downgraded’ runways
Airplanes parked at Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters
Operator says overload to blame for degradation of two runways at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports.

Vietnam's Transport Ministry has been advised to urgently renovate two runways at the country’s biggest airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the operator of domestic civilian airports, has told the ministry that runways at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai in Hanoi have become “seriously downgraded.”

“The surfaces of the runways are cracked and broken. Some sections of Runway 1B in Noi Bai even get muddy at times, especially in the rainy season,” the corporation said.

The runway, which opened to traffic in 2003, was made to handle 10,500 takeoffs and landings in 20 years but to date, this number has already reached 284,200.

ACV also said that Runway 25R/07L at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport was put into use in June 2013 with a designed capacity of 55,100 landings and take-offs over 10 years.

But by April this year, this figure had already crossed 126,000.

The corporation told the ministry that aviation safety could be compromised if these runways were not renovated and put into use soon.

The two runways are in areas managed by the state and if ACV is assigned the task of fixing them, the company can use its own development funds to do it, the corporation said.

Vietnam’s aviation sector served 94 million passengers last year, a 16-percent increase over 2016.

In the first quarter alone, it transported 11.4 million passengers and 81,000 tons of goods, up 8.6 percent and 5.9 percent respectively.

Plans are already in place to expand the two airports.

A $5.5 billion expansion of Noi Bai to double its capacity by 2030 to 50 million passengers per year is on the anvil, as is a similar one that will have Tan Son Nhat handling 50 million passengers per year by 2025 without the need for a new runway.

Vietnam is also planning to build the Long Thanh Airport in the neighboring province of Dong Nai to handle 60-70 million passengers that Ho Chi Minh City is expected to receive each year by 2025.

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