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NA backs new airport despite funding issues

Update: October, 30/2014 - 08:19
According to the Government's proposal, Long Thanh International Airport is necessary to ease the pressure on Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City.

HA NOI (VNS) — The National Assembly (NA) Economic Committee has approved a plan to build a modern international airport, but voiced concerns about how to mobilise investment. This was revealed at NA's plenary sitting yesterday.

In its verification report about the Government's proposal to build Long Thanh International Airport in southern Dong Nai Province, the committee said it was necessary to meet growing demand for aviation. The committee said it also contributed to national development and defence-security.

The committee, however, noted that there were opinions questioning the urgency of the project, and suggested more time should be taken.

The committee also required more accurate investment estimates for the first phase of the project, adding that the Government also needed to calculate the estimated costs of building an infrastructure system connected with the airport.

In addition, it said the Government's plans to use State budget funds and loans to fund the project were not feasible in the context of rising public debt and the State budget running short.

The committee added that even when international financial organisations agreed to lend capital for the project, these loans also needed the Government's sponsorship.

The committee presented a number of opinions recommending calling for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and encouraging private-public co-operation to implement the project.

According to the Government's proposal, Long Thanh International Airport is necessary to ease the pressure on Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City.

It is also expected to become an aviation hub in the region in line with the country's aviation development strategy.

The new airport will be built in three phases, the first to be completed in 2025 and the second in 2030.

The first phase is divided into Phase 1'A' and Phase 1'B'. Under Phase 1'A', the main terminal and one runway to serve 17 million passengers a year will become operational in 2023. Under Phase 1'B', to be completed in 2025, two wings of the main terminal and the second runway will be constructed.

Total investment for the first phase is estimated at VND164.589 trillion (US$7.84 billion). The Government plans to source VND84.624 trillion ($4 billion) from the State budget, Government bonds and Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the remaining VND79.965 trillion ($3.84 billion) from non-State sectors.

When the second phase of the airport is completed in 2030, the airport will have its capacity raised to 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo.

In the afternoon, the deputies discussed in groups the draft revised Law on State Budget and the draft revised Law on State Audit. — VNS

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