A rendering of the proposed Long Thành International Airport in the southern province of Đồng Nai. — Photo courtesy of Airports Corporation of Việt Nam
HCM CITY — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has urged Đồng Nai Province to speed up the progress of the Long Thành International Airport and create a “comprehensive plan” to develop smart urban areas around the proposed airport.
At a recent meeting, Phúc said that capital disbursement, as well as site clearance, compensation and resettlement for affected households should be accelerated so that construction of the airport can begin next year.
“The province must quickly complete site clearance covering 5,000ha so the airport can be completed by 2025 or earlier, as set by the National Assembly,” he said.
He asked the province to work with agencies, particularly the ministries of Transport; Natural Resources and Environment, and Finance, to speed up site clearance.
In addition, Phúc asked the province work with the Ministry of Construction to develop a “comprehensive plan” for developing smart urban areas, ensuring the interests of the State and investors in accordance with the law.
The plan must ensure good connections between the proposed airport and surrounding areas and consider the socio-economic impact of the airport.
The Government will make a decision about the smart urban planning before it reports to the Politburo, the National Assembly and the National Assembly Standing Committee on the investment policies.
According to a report from the province, as of May only VNĐ1.242 trillion out of a total of VNĐ17 trillion ($723.6 million) allocated for the task had been disbursed.
Đồng Nai has completed 99 per cent of site clearance at resettlement sites.
More than 1,000 households in Đồng Nai are expected to relocate and the province has already made a decision on the compensation owed to them.
To build the airport, site clearance is needed for more than 5,000ha of land and more than 364 additional hectares to build two resettlement sites, including Lộc An – Bình Sơn covering 282ha and Bình Sơn with more than 81ha.
As a result, some 4,800 local households and 26 organisations are expected to be relocated. Some 70 per cent of the 15,500 affected people are farmers, and the rest are rubber plantation workers and workers in other sectors.
The feasibility study of Long Thành airport progress was supposed to be submitted to the Prime Minister for an investment decision in March. However, the State Evaluation Council will not submit it for approval to the Prime Minister until the end of this month.
Because the project appraisal and approval is three months beyond the initial requirement by the Government, the next steps on investor selection thus have not been decided, according to Lại Xuân Thanh, chairman of the Airport Corporation of Việt Nam (ACV).
Long Thành airport is expected to handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.
Covering a total area of more than 5,580ha, the airport will be located in six communes in Long Thành District in Đồng Nai Province.
The airport’s total investment is VNĐ336.63 trillion ($14.35 billion), with construction divided into three phases. In the first phase, a runway and one passenger terminal along with other support works will be built to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year.
The first phase is expected to be completed by 2025.
Tân Sơn Nhất airport overload
If the construction of Long Thành airport is delayed and not completed by 2025, the pressure will remain on Tân Sơn Nhất airport in HCM City as the former is expected to ease the passenger overloading of the latter.
“The more Long Thành airport is delayed, the more serious the overload at Tân Sơn Nhất will become,” Thanh said.
ACV, which manages 22 civil airports across the country, was recently approved by the PM to be the investor of the third passenger terminal at Tân Sơn Nhất in order to reduce overload at the existing T1 domestic passenger terminal.
The ACV will fund the estimated $472 million investment on its own and build the terminal in 37 months.
Construction on the project is expected to begin in October 2021 and completed in mid-2023. The T3 terminal will have a total floor area of about 100,000sq.m and a designed capacity of 20 million passengers per year.
The project also includes the expansion of parking lots and construction of supporting structures, including technical buildings, wastewater treatment plants and water stations.
Last year Tân Sơn Nhất airport received over 40 million passengers, 1.6 times higher than its intended capacity of 25 million per year.
The transport ministry has approved an increase in the airport’s capacity to 50 million passengers by 2025, with the third terminal managing 20 million and the other two upgraded terminals managing the rest.
Economist Lê Đăng Doanh said the delay caused by land acquisition remains a serious bottleneck for key infrastructure projects.
“Localities that are mainly responsible for site clearance and compensation must ensure progress in land acquisition. The delay in land acquisition is often caused by many reasons, including disagreements from affected households due to huge differences between the compensation price and market price,” he said. — VNS