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Long Thanh airport under NA review

Update: June, 05/2015 - 09:11
Most lawmakers supported construction of the Long Thanh International Airport in discussions held yesterday at the ongoing ninth session of the 13th National Assembly. — File Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — National Assembly delegates spent yesterday morning discussing the Government's draft law on protecting information and discussing a proposal to build Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai Province.

They agreed that the information law would help protect the rights and interest of all organisations and individuals. In addition, it would provide a legal framework ensuring the high effectiveness of State management of information safety.

The draft law has nine chapters and 56 articles. It coveres information safety in various domains, including information on social web sites, technical standard procedures, the development of human resources - and the rights and obligations of organisations or individuals engaged in activities to protect information safety.

The law is applied to all Vietnamese citizens and organisations or foreign citizens and organisations directly involved in or related to activities of information safety in Viet Nam.

Appraising the draft law, the National Assembly Committee on Science, Technology and Environment agreed that the law would enable organisations and individuals operating in the field to develop sustainably. However, the committee said some terminology or stipulations written in the law were too general and predicted they would create difficulties in application.

Commenting on the information framework requiring legal protection, the committee was not really happy as the draft mostly focused on technical issues on information safety on the web, including telecommunications, internet and computer network, not on their contents.

Members said that if this was the case, the name of the law should be changed to " Law on web site information safety". The committee called on the drafting committee to further differentiate the relationships between information safety and information security in the law.

The morning plenary session was presided over by Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, National Assembly Vice Chairwoman.

Most deputies agree

Most lawmakers supported construction of the Long Thanh International Airport in discussions held yesterday at the ongoing ninth session of the 13th National Assembly.

It was the last phase of discussions before the parliament votes on the initial plan for the project on June 25.

Speaking at the NA session, Transport Minister Dinh La Thang said the Long Thanh Airport would fill an urgent need to ease overloading at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which has maximum designed capacity of 25 million passengers a year. Concerned agencies have forecast that the overloading will happen from 2017 onwards.

The project is also in accordance with the development plans for the southern key economic region, which accounts for 46 per cent of the nation's total passengers, the minister said.

The Government has reported that an alternative proposal to increase the capacity of the Tan Son Nhat Airport to 40-50 million passengers per year is unfeasible.

It has estimated that the alternative solution of building Long Thanh Airport would cost around US$9.1 billion, excluding expenses for planning, rebuilding technical infrastructure and upgrading the transport system.

Expansion of the Bien Hoa military airport and increased utilisation of some other airports in the south are also not feasible solutions since they play separate roles in ensuring national defence and security, Thang said.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has forecast that Viet Nam will rank third among 10 countries to see the highest number of aviation passengers in the Asia-Pacific region.

While supporting the project, deputy Tran Du Lich of HCM City expressed concerns about its deadlines. According to the Government's plan, the new airport won't be completed before 2025, which means Tan Son Nhat Airport would be extremely overloaded by that time, he said.

"It's not just overloading at the terminal, parking, runways but also overloading in terms of airspace, which is the most difficult aspect for us to handle," he said.

Nguyen Ngoc Phuong, a deputy from Quang Binh Province, said construction of the new airport should begin as soon as 2016, given that Tan Son Nhat would experience overloading in the 2017-25 period.

Nguyen Sy Cuong, a deputy from Ninh Thuan Province, asked the Government to closely monitor investment and spending for the project, noting that the costs of many infrastructure projects have been overstated.

Deputy Duong Trung Quoc of Dong Nai Province, where the Long Thanh Airport will be located, said the Government should seek more opinions from residents and experts.

He said that construction of the airport must happen in accordance with the overall economic development plan of the southern region.

Deputy Do Manh Hung from Thai Nguyen Province said he was concerned with the overall cost of $15.8 billion. The investment, using Official Development Assistance (ODA) and PPP (Public Private Partnership), would be part of public debt, so there must be clearer explanations on how this would affect the State Budget, he said.

Estimates for the project have been revised down to $15.8 billion from the original $18.7 billion after scaling down the area of land to be cleared, reviewing construction materials and more accurately calculating investment costs.

Deputy Lich of HCM City said the project's first phase should be implemented urgently so that it can become operational before 2025, meeting demand in the southern key economic region.

The Government estimates that 11 per cent of Long Thanh Airport's cost would be covered by the State Budget, 26 per cent would come from ODA and the rest from the private sector.

Previous reports have said that Tan Son Nhat lacks parking space and that its passenger and cargo terminals, airport aprons and airspace are frequently overloaded. In addition, the current airport is very close to the city centre and if it is overloaded, the lives of residents who live nearby would be negatively affected. — VNS

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