|Da Nang International Airport. Upgrade work at the airport should be finished in time for the APEC Summit in 2017, the Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said yesterday. — VNS Photo Truong Vi
DA NANG (VNS) — The message at the Ministry of Transport's meeting yesterday in Da Nang was clear - ministries, agencies, investors and city authorities need to speed up work on the international airport construction and the railway station demolition.
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang told the City People's Committee and agencies the new airport terminal, which will cost an estimated VND3.2 trillion (US$146 million), should be their first priority and needs to be finished in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit in 2017.
"The Airport project must be started in the fourth quarter this year and go into operation in early 2017. It will help ease overload at the airport. It is an important factor in the socio-economic development of the central and Central Highlands regions, and important to the country's Master Plan of Airports," Thang said.
The minister told city agencies and the project owner to accelerate land clearance and prepare funds and a detailed schedule for the project, which should start by the year's end.
"It's very urgent. The project will be approved next week and we have two months to break ground," he said.
According to head of the Viet Nam, Lai Xuan Thanh, the Da Nang Airport is already overloaded with its estimated 6.5 million arrivals a year.
"A 9ha plot of land has been added for the new terminal that will bring total capacity to nine or ten million people when it operates in 2017," Thanh said.
"The new terminal will also add seven more hangars bringing the total to 21, an upgraded runaway and a landing area for backed-up flights in the near future," he said.
Da Nang International Airport is now the third largest airport in Viet Nam, accommodating 150 flight arrivals and departures, 15,000 passengers and about 50 tonnes of cargo every day. An additional cargo terminal is also planned which would add another 16,000 tonnes of cargo capacity.
Besides the airport terminal, other issues regarding the existent railway station were raised at the meeting, mainly focusing on the lack of funds.
An official from the ministry said the removal of city's downtown railway station, and relocation, needed funds upwards of VND6.9 trillion ($328.5 million).
Ministry official Nguyen Danh Huy said the city also needed to complete Hai Van Railway Tunnel project to further the development of the North-South Railway.
The project, with its estimated cost of VND9.5 trillion ($435 million), has sought to obtain Official Development Assistance (ODA) funds and are awaiting those results.
General Director of Viet Nam Railway Corporation, Vu Ta Tung, said the removal of Da Nang Railway Station is part of a master plan to increase passenger train speeds to 90km/hour, and cargo trains to 60km/hour.
"The city has planned a 33ha area in Lien Chieu district for the first stage for the new station to meet the increasing commuter demand," he said.
Minister Thang emphasised that the corporation and Railway Administration Agency should review its master plan on railway development. He said it needs to join hands with other agencies, departments, investors and the city administration.
Vice Chairman of the City People's Committee, Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, promised smooth conditions to speed up the airport and railway projects. — VNS