Ministry seeks funds to repair damaged runways, taxiways at major airports

By Viet Tuan   September 12, 2019 | 07:27 pm GMT+7
Ministry seeks funds to repair damaged runways, taxiways at major airports
A taxiway of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi is cracked. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy.
The Ministry of Transport says runways and taxiways at Hanoi and HCMC airports need to be repaired post haste to ensure aviation safety.

Investing in, repairing and renovating the runways and taxiways of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is "extremely urgent," the ministry said in a Tuesday communiqué to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The airports in Vietnam’s two biggest cities "are under huge pressure due to the increasing transportation demand in recent times," it said.

The runway and taxiway systems of both airports have been overused, given their designed capacity and there is evidence of cracks, breakage and subsidence, the ministry noted.

It wants the PM to extract 10 percent of the provision for medium-term public investments for the 2016-2020 period to fix those routes.

So far, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the sole airport operator in Vietnam, has used its own budget to fix the downgraded parts to ensure flight safety, but the ministry said this was a temporary solution and if timely action was not taken to renovate those facilities properly, aviation safety will be undermined.

The government currently holds a 95.4 percent stake in ACV, while foreign investors own 3.61 percent and domestic shareholders, 0.99 percent. The firm runs 21 of the country’s 22 airports, the other being private airport Van Don in the northern Quang Ninh Province, and is responsible for building runways, parking bays and terminals there.

The Noi Bai International Airport has closed a taxiway, S3, from September 11 to 16 for repairs.

S3 was also temporarily closed on August 9 on safety grounds, but partially reopened on August 19, Noi Bai authorities had said earlier this month.

A section of runway 1B at the Noi Bai airport also needs repairs, and it will only be used between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. from September 11-13.

The transport ministry had already written to the PM early last year, suggesting solutions for upgrading runways at the Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports using provisions made for medium-term public investments in the 2016-2020 period, ACV’s development investment fund and revenues collected from airport operations.

The ACV has estimated that the work to fix runways and taxiways will cost VND2.24 trillion ($96.4 million) for Tan Son Nhat and VND2.3 trillion for Noi Bai.

Tan Son Nhat served 38.4 million passengers last year, 1.5 times higher than its designed capacity of 25 million passengers per year. Corresponding figures for Noi Bai were over 26 million and 21 million.

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