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Cost of Long Thanh Airport Balloons to $18.7bn

Like many large-scale infrastructure projects in Vietnam, the cost of HCMC’s long-anticipated Long Thanh International Airport has exceeded original estimates, according to the Transport Ministry.

At the ongoing National Assembly session in Hanoi, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang submitted a report putting the cost of the new airport at $18.7 billion, according to Tuoi Tre.

Initial costs of the airport were originally reported between $8 billion and $10 billion.

The new airport, which will be located around 43 km from HCMC, is expected to handle 100 million passengers per year, serving 80% of international and 20% of domestic flights to the city.

According to the document, the airport will be completed in 3 phases:

“The first phase will require an estimated $7.8 billion, while the respective capital needed for the next two phases is $3.8 billion and $7 billion, respectively,” reported Tuoi Tre.

The cost estimate comes on the heels of numerous recent gaffes by the Transport Ministry’s Vice Minister, Pham Quy Tieu, who said the project had received a $2 billion loan from the Japanese government, a statement that was quickly refuted. Later, he made a similar statement about French company ADPI which was also found to be false.

The Transport Ministry’s report suggests that funding should come from the state budget, private companies and international loans.

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Tieu said that despite the difficult economic landscape, the airport would bring may opportunities to the city and country:

“I must say even in the hard economic times, we will still implement projects we deem effective and necessary.” 

“The Asia Pacific region will remain the ‘hottest’ growing aviation market in the next ten years, which is forecast to expand by up to six percent a year,” he said, citing the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“So, the Long Thanh airport will bring in economic effectiveness in the future.”

One thing’s for sure, the city faces an uphill battle when it comes to improving its airport services.

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