Work to begin on airport, major airports to get upgrades

By Doan Loan   January 30, 2022 | 05:31 am PT
Work to begin on airport, major airports to get upgrades
An aircraft approaches to land at Con Dao Airport, southern Vietnam, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Anh
Work is set to begin on an airport in Quang Tri this year, while Tan Son Nhat, Dien Bien, Con Dao and Dong Hoi airports are set for major upgrades.

A public-private-partnership is set to begin building the first airport in the central province of Quang Tri in April. The project’s estimated cost is over 5.82 trillion ($257 million).

Located in Gio Linh District, the 265-hectare domestic airport will have a capacity of one million passengers a year and handle 3,100 tons of cargo. It will be able to accommodate aircraft like Airbus A321, Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.

Currently, people wanting to reach Quang Tri have to fly to Thua Thien-Hue or Quang Binh province, both about 100km away.

The new airport is expected to drive socio-political-economic development in Quang Tri Province, a Vietnam War battlefield, and bolster national defense in the central region.

T3 terminal

Construction of the T3 terminal at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC will begin this year. The project, costing VND10.99 trillion ($482.6 million), is expected to be completed in 37 months.

Lai Xuan Thanh, chairman of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the project investor, said they were waiting for land to be handed over by competent authorities.

The domestic terminal, with a capacity of 20 million passengers a year, is expected to relieve the current overload on T1.

Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam’s largest airport, has been overloaded for many years. The airport has been serving 36 million passengers a year since 2017, well above its designed capacity of 25 million passengers per year by 2020.

Runway expansion, new taxiway

Work began January 22 on a project to upgrade the Dien Bien Airport in northern Vietnam.

The upgrade includes expansion of the airport’s runway and construction of a new 15-meter-wide taxiway. Its apron will be expanded to accommodate bigger aircraft, including three Airbus A320, A321 or equivalents and one ATR72.

The passenger terminal will be expanded to serve 500,000 passengers from the current capacity of 300,000.

The project, invested in by the ACV, has a total investment outlay of VND1.5 trillion (over $65 million). It is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of next year.

Provincial authorities expect the airport expansion to attract more businesses to invest in the local tourism and commerce industries.

The Dien Bien Airport in the eponymous province, 500 kilometers to the west of Hanoi, was originally a military airport built in 1954.

Wider runway, three new taxiways

Upgrade work on the Con Dao Airport in the eponymous tourist island in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province is expected to begin this year at a cost of VND2.3 trillion.

The upgrade, approved by the transport ministry last year, will increase its capacity from 400,000 to two million passengers a year by 2030. It will also enable the airport to handle large jet aircraft.

The existing 1,830-meter-long runway's width will be increased from 30 to 45 meters to receive large jets like A319neo and A320neo. At present, it can only handle ATR72 turboprop aircraft with a capacity of 72-78 passengers, resulting in expensive air tickets.

A parallel taxiway and three new taxiways will be built to connect with the runway.

The upgrade will also include construction of a new apron for eight aircraft, a new air traffic control tower on the east side of the passenger terminal, a synchronous airport beacon system and a landing gear system to operate flights at night.

The Con Dao Airport was first built by the French in the 20th century and upgraded in 2003 for commercial use. At present, it is closed at night because it does not have a runway lighting system.

New terminal

Another major upgrade to begin this year is to build the T2 passenger terminal at the Dong Hoi Airport in the central province of Quang Binh, home to UNESCO heritage site Phong Nha-Ke Bang and world’s largest cave Son Doong.

The ACV had submitted a proposal to build the T2 terminal on an area of 1.1 hectares, a parking lot in front of the terminal and other ancillary works.

The project requires a total investment of VND1.2 trillion.

The T2 terminal will serve three million passengers a year when complete.

The current passenger terminal at Dong Hoi has a designed capacity of half million passengers a year while the number of customers passing through the airport reached 539,908 million people in 2019. In 2020, around 487,746 million passengers traveled through the airport despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

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