Vietnam mulls direct route between HCMC airport, Long Thanh

By Doan Loan   March 21, 2019 | 11:26 pm PT
Vietnam mulls direct route between HCMC airport, Long Thanh
Heavy traffic outside Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on January 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa
Minister of Transport has instructed consultants to Long Thanh Airport to design a dedicated route to Tan Son Nhat Airport that would bypass the city.

At a meeting Thursday to review Long Thanh Airport's progress, Minister Nguyen Van The asked the consultants to consider its feasibility.

Le Do Muoi, deputy head of the ministry's Transport and Development Strategy Institute, said there is already a plan to build a light rail route between HCMC's Thu Thiem Ward and the new airport being built in neighboring Dong Nai Province.

The consulting agencies have called for immediate investment in construction of Cat Lai Bridge, Dong Nai's Highway 25 and Belt Road 3 to boost connectivity between Long Thanh Airport and the rest of the province and the Mekong Delta.

"If these projects are completed on schedule before 2025 then they would well connect the southeastern and southwest regions with Long Thanh Airport," Muoi said.

The consultants also agreed to submit a proposal from the Transport Engineering Design Inc. (TEDI), which is building a 40-kilometer (25-mile) road that would run along Dong Nai's Provincial Highway 25C and into a planned monorail in HCMC.

They expressed concern that a light rail would be the optimal solution, but its construction would be complex and time-consuming and so unlikely to be ready before Long Thanh Airport's planned opening in 2025.

Minister The therefore instructed them to study construction of a road, or even an exclusive route, for vehicles going between the two airports.

"70-80 percent of foreign visitors will be traveling from one airport to the other. We need to have a dedicated route for these passengers. Foreign visitors would not be able to use buses and urban railways as this would be difficult even for domestic passengers."

The minister emphasized the fact this dedicated route must be separated from normal roads, be off-limits to other vehicles to prevent congestion and avoid downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Long Thanh Airport, 40 kilometers east of HCMC, will be built in three phases over three decades with an estimated cost of VND336.63 trillion ($16.03 billion).

The first is scheduled for completion in 2025, when it can handle 25 million passengers a year. The next two phases will run from 2030 to 2035 and from 2040 to 2050.

Experts have warned that the cost of the country’s largest airport could double every five years.

The airport is expected to ease the pressure on the country’s largest existing airport, HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat.

Once completed, Long Thanh will have an annual capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo.

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