The building of an airport in Long Thanh will reduce pressure on Tan Son Nhat Airport, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong told Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times) Newspaper.
Why build the Long Thanh airport rather than expand the existing international Tan Son Nhat or Bien Hoa airports?
The Tan Son Nhat airport is overloaded. It has become imperative for us to invest in either the expansion of the existing airport or to build a new one.
According to initial calculations, expansion is an unattractive and near impossible option. It would cost more than US$9 billion in land compensation for the 140,000 households and its half a million people that would have to relocate somewhere else.
Regarding the Bien Hoa airport - a strategic military airport just 30 km from Tan Son Nhat - traffic conflicts over the airspace would surely result if we increased Tan Son Nhat's output. That's why, I object to the idea of expanding the Bien Hoa airport.
Why choose to build the airport in Long Thanh?
The decision to build Long Thanh international airport was based off recommendations from the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAAV) comprehensive study and after the Prime Minister's approval on July 20, 2005 and again on June 14, 2011.
One of the reasons we chose Long Thanh is that it has 5,000 ha of land available; enough land to build an international airport capable of serving over 100,000 million passengers annually. The location also provides enough space (some 1,000 ha) to build a military base in the future.
The airport location is also connected to quality transportation infrastructure already in place, such as major roads and rail lines to Ho Chi Minh City.
Tell us about the Long Thanh airport design and development plan.
The airport's first phase, to be completed by 2025, will be a terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo annually. There will be two parallel runways for takeoff and landing.
The second phase, to be completed by 2030, will add another runway and another terminal bringing capacity to 50 million passengers. In the third and final phase, another runway and terminal will be added to bring the airport's capacity to 100 million passengers annually.
What is the Ministry of Transport's plan to raise enough capital for the Long Thanh airport?
The first phase's total investment will be $7.837 billion (VND 164.5 trillion) of which VND 84 trillion will come from the state budget. The remaining balance will come from investors.
From the very beginning, the MOT submitted a proposal to the National Assembly to collect the sum from three sources: the sale of government bonds, state revenue and ODA money. The remaining VND 80 trillion must be rounded up by the CAAV.
Some worry that the airport construction will be a heavy burden to the country's public debt. What's your position?
In reality, investment in aviation has resulted in big financial benefits. Case in point is the building of the Tan Son Nhat airport several years ago, also look at the construction of Noi Bai airport's new Terminal2.
With all the ODA funds, the financial pressure on the public debt, at just 0.029 per cent of the debt, is much lower than those from other projects. In addition, project loans' impacts are presently very small.
So, I'm one hundred per cent sure that the investment in the Long Thanh airport won't burden the public with more national debt. — VNS