Saigon airport runway upgrade sees November finish

By Gia Minh   August 29, 2020 | 08:56 pm PT
The upgrade of one of the two runways at HCMC's Tan Son Nhat Airport is 41 percent complete and is expected to be finished in November.

Visiting the construction site Saturday, Transport Minister Nguyen Van The stressed the importance of completing the upgrade in time for the runway to become operational early next year, when travel demand peaks during the Tet (Lunar New Year) season.

As a designated urgent project, the upgrade has been executed by three contractors under the management of Cuu Long Corporation.

With around 500 workers pressed into service every day, construction is 18 percent ahead of schedule and set to be finished in mid-November, instead of December 31. The runway then will be tested for six weeks before officially opening to traffic, said Tran Van Thi, director of the corporation.

Construction at runway 25R/07L on the afternoon of August 29. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

Upgrade work in progress on a runway at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport, August 29, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

The upgrade includes removing the asphalt layers that are 46 meters wide and 3.4 kilometers long, and fortifying the 40 cm thick concrete structure. A lot of work happens at night, given the 35 degree Celsius maximum limit for the concrete construction.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a decrease in the number of flights, which has allowed faster work on construction of the taxiways at both ends of the new runway, The said.

The capacity of the airport dropped by 30-35 percent with only one runway currently in use.

The ongoing upgrade at Tan Son Nhat airport began June 29 with an investment of VND2.02 trillion ($87.2 million). At Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport, the ongoing upgrade of both runways commenced on the same day.

Since 2017, the Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports have been receiving new-generation aircraft with huge loads, speeding up degradation of their runways and taxiways.

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