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Vietnam Today

Foreign consultants to be engaged for Tan Son Nhat expansion

Released at: 17:08, 13/06/2017

Foreign consultants to be engaged for Tan Son Nhat expansion

Illustrative image. Photo: Archives

PM assigns transport ministry to hire foreign consultants to evaluate expansion plans.

by Quang Huy

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Minister of Defense to order a halt to all construction work on a golf course built on a military plot of land adjacent to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, pending further research.

The decision was made after Prime Minister Phuc chaired a government meeting on June 12 which discussed the expansion plans for the country’s southern air gateway, Chairman and Minister of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung told local media.

The Prime Minister also assigned the Ministry of Transport to hire a foreign consultancy firm to evaluate the expansion of Tan Son Nhat.

Work must be done in an independent manner to ensure the expansion project will achieve maximum efficiency, and the results are to be reported to the government by the end of the year.

Prime Minister Phuc said he values the opinions of National Assembly delegates, experts, the media, and Ho Chi Minh City Secretary Nguyen Thien Nhan, concerning the expansion.

Minister Dung quoted the defense minister as saying that the ministry is willing to hand over the military-controlled land near Tan Son Nhat for the airport expansion if needed, and added that the government would consider various plans for the expansion, so that the final plan will be the fastest, safest, most efficient, and most cost-effective.

In the meantime, it remains necessary to accelerate the Long Thanh International Airport project, which is located in the neighboring province of Dong Nai, the Prime Minister said.

In recent years, strong growth in air travel has left Tan Son Nhat, the only airport serving Ho Chi Minh City, severely overloaded, with Vietnam now aiming to begin building Long Thanh in 2019.

According to the initial plan, the Tan Son Nhat expansion will add a runway, two terminals, and aircraft aprons in an upgraded designed to allow the country’s busiest hub to handle 40 million to 50 million passengers annually.

Earlier this year, the government gave the green light for the expansion after the defense ministry agreed to clear some of its operations out of the airport, as well as from Noi Bai and Da Nang International Airports, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

Tan Son Nhat will initially add the runway and aprons to raise annual capacity to 38 million passengers by 2019.

Rapid growth in air travel as well as the number of airlines in recent years has strained the country’s aviation infrastructure. Tan Son Nhat serves 40 per cent of all fliers in Vietnam and is particularly vulnerable to flooding and congested approach roads. The overloaded facility handled 32 million passengers in 2016, a 28 per cent increase year-on-year and surpassing its designed capacity of 20 million.

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