Individuals to be held accountable for Long Thanh airport delay

By Viet Tuan   April 18, 2023 | 11:49 pm PT
Individuals to be held accountable for Long Thanh airport delay
The construction site of Long Thanh International Airport, March 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
PM Pham Minh Chinh has ordered an investigation into individuals responsible for delays in the construction of Long Thanh airport, which is slated to be Vietnam's largest.

The Prime Minister requires the investor of Long Thanh International Airport, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the Ministry of Transport, and the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises to explain the causes for the delays, as well as the units and individuals responsible.

The three will have to submit reports to Deputy PM Tran Hong Ha before April 23.

PM Chinh also ordered Dong Nai Province to complete the transfer of all land needed to build the airport before June 30.

Of the 2,532 hectares of land earmarked for the airport's first phase in the province, which borders Ho Chi Minh City, contractors have received 2,459 hectares.

The airport's investor, ACV, said that of the total 5,000 hectares needed for the entire project, more than 4,700 hectares have been cleared and transferred.

It said limited site clearance had slowed down construction of the cargo terminal, the delivery depot, the aircraft cleaning area, and the ground equipment maintenance zone.

The slow progress in clearance has been mainly caused by issues related to the resettlement of affected families as many do not have papers proving legal ownership of their property, making it difficult to complete compensation and relocation.

Aside from the late site clearance, another reason causing the delay for the airport project is the failure to find a builder.

The ACV announced last December that bidding on a package to build the passenger terminal for the airport had been canceled. It said that it had called for bidding on Sep. 24 last year, but no local candidates met the requirements to carry out the project.

According to the corporation, local contractors lack experience in special projects like airports while several foreign contractors interested in the project considered the 2025 deadline impractical.

On Tuesday, the Government Office announced Deputy PM Tran Hong Ha’s assessment that the unsuccessful bidding for the first passenger terminal package showed "the limitations of ACV's professionalism," greatly affecting the project’s progress.

ACV's Board of Directors must review the bidding process and if necessary hold a second pre-bid conference, using experts, specialized consultants, bid evaluation, and appraisal of results, the deputy PM said.

Work on Long Thanh airport began in early 2021 and its first phase is scheduled for completion in 2025 to serve 25 million passengers a year.

The site for the passenger terminal had already been cleared and made ready for construction, which was to begin at the end of January.

Until now, construction work at the airport has only stopped at leveling ground, building fences, and the drainage system.

Costing an estimated $16 billion, the airport is designed to serve 100 million passengers and 5 million tons of cargo per year.

Once operational, the airport will replace HCMC's Tan Son Nhat International Airport as the largest airport in the country.

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