Tan Son Nhat airport upgrade delayed

By Anh Duy   April 7, 2022 | 11:43 pm PT
Tan Son Nhat airport upgrade delayed
The construction site to upgrade Tan Son Nhat International Airport's taxiways in 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Transport Ministry has criticized the management board and contractors of a project to upgrade Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport which has fallen behind schedule.

The repair and upgrade of the 25R/07L runway, three kilometers long and 46 meters wide, was started in July 2020 as the first phase of a project that costs more than VND2 trillion ($87.4 million) to renovate the largest airport in Vietnam, which has suffered overloading for years.

The work was completed late that year. During that period, the entire runway remained closed.

The second phase of the airport upgrade includes work on five existing taxiways and new rapid exit taxiways, connecting taxiways and parallel taxiways besides a drainage system, taxiway lights, and aviation signboards.

As originally planned, the first phase will last six months while the second phase must be finished within 2021. However, work has dragged on ever since.

In February, the 25R/07L runway was shut yet again to complete taxiway renovations. That runway has now been reopened.

Yet until now, work on the taxiways has yet to be completed and therefore, the remaining runway of the airport, the 25L/07R, must be put into use as a taxiway, which means currently, the airport has just one runway in operation.

In a letter sent recently to My Thuan Project Management Board, in charge of managing the upgrade project, the Ministry of Transport said the board has failed to "push the contractors" and "continuously let the project fall behind schedule."

The Construction Ministry's Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No. 4 (Cienco 4), the construction contractor, was criticized for its slow progress and failure to arrange enough staff and machinery to comply with the contract.

The design consultancy contractor, state-owned consultancy firm Airport Design and Construction Consultancy One Member Limited Liability Company (ADCC), is condemned for failing to "actively coordinate" with the airport operator and send staff to the construction site to edit design documents in time. As a result, the design had to be adjusted many different times, affecting project progress.

The ministry orders related parties to boost progress so that both runways of the airport could be back in business ahead of the upcoming holiday in late April.

April 30 is Reunification Day and May 1, International Labor Day, both falling on a weekend this year, which means a four-day break.

Tan Son Nhat has been overloaded for many years and the resultant damage has been evident in visible cracks and deformation and subsidence of the asphalt surface on its runways and taxiways.

The airport has been serving 36 million passengers a year since 2017, well above its designed capacity, which was 25 million passengers per year by 2020.

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