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Tan Son Nhat Gets Updated Int'l Terminal, Long Thanh Gets Delayed

In an effort to catch up with other major national airports, Tan Son Nhat's international terminal is getting a new addition.

Over the course of an estimated 417 days, the southern hub's international terminal will be expanded in two phases, first to the east and then to the west, reports REIC.

For the first phase, Hoa Binh Construction Company leads a consortium of contractors and will be responsible for all structural and architectural elements as well as the technical infrastructure for the airport.

Hoa Binh's contract alone will cost the airport a sum of VND600 billion (US$27.15 million), or 55% of the total amount the airport is spending to expand Tan Son Nhat's international terminal.

Once both phases are complete, the upgraded terminal will be able to serve 13 million passengers a year, a 3 million increase from its current facility. This is especially good news, as the mammoth Long Thanh International Airport may take longer than expected, according to VnExpress.

At present, Long Thanh risks being delayed another five years, as the airport's feasibility study is caught up in bureacratic red tape. A delegation from the National Assembly's Economic Committee has expressed its concern to both the prime minister and the National Assembly, following a site visit by inspectors and stakeholders.

According to the Dong Nai People's Committee, it will take three years to complete land acquisition, resettlement and land clearance, however this work can only begin after Long Thanh's investment policy has been approved by the prime minister, according to local law.

Herein lies the problem: with the Airports Corporation of Vietnam's Long Thanh feasibility study far down on the docket for the National Assembly, the earliest this decision can be made is 2018, according to VnExpress, ensuring that Long Thanh's progress will be delayed.

“This way, 2018 is the earliest the prime minister can allocate funds for the construction of two resettlement areas in Loc An and Binh Son, and clearance can only be conducted in 2020,” a Dong Nai leader said of the situation. “As such, land clearance can be completed by 2023 at the soonest.”

The National Assembly's Economic Committee says construction on Long Thanh must begin by 2018 in order to complete phase one – which will include one terminal and a runway to serve 25 million passengers per year – by 2025 at the latest.

“However, if you follow the steps under current regulations, construction cannot begin until 2023, five years later than the resolution of the National Assembly requires,” said Economic Committee chairman Nguyen Van Giau.

Because of this, the committee is proposing a special exception to the National Assembly in an effort to speed up the airport's construction. If approved, Long Thanh would begin its site clearance before the approval of the feasibility report, helping to keep the project on schedule.

As Tan Son Nhat, the country's largest airport, strains under the current influx of passengers, Long Thanh is considered a project of national importance. Once complete, the facility will have a capacity of 100 million passengers a year, along with 5 million tons of cargo. Long Thanh's total cost is estimated at VND336.63 trillion (US$16.03 billion by 2014 exchange rate), with its first phase amounting to VND114.450 trillion (US$5.45 billion). The project is expected to reach completion of all three phases by 2050.

[Photo via DHSaigon]


Related Articles:

Saigon's Airport Dilemma: Part 1

Long Thanh Airport Construction to Relocate 15,000 People

Tan Son Nhat to Be Expanded. Again.


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