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 — A delay in land acquisition disbursement for the proposed Long Thành international airport in the southern province of Đồng Nai could affect its progress, experts have warned.
The delay remains the biggest bottleneck for the project, which is expected to begin in the second quarter next year and be completed by 2025, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
As of August 20, only 13.82 per cent of the VNĐ18.5 trillion ($792.47 million) allocated for the airport land acquisition and compensation had been disbursed, according to the ministry.
In April, the Đồng Nai authorities pledged to disburse all funding within 2020, but the low disbursement rate means the province will likely fail to complete land acquisition and compensation by the end of the year as committed, according to experts.
As scheduled, the province will hand over the priority area of 1,800ha to the project investor by October, and the entire land by the second quarter of 2021, according to Cao Tiến Dũng, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.
“It’s vital to complete the assessment of cleared land for affected households within this year,” Dũng said.
As of today, Long Thành District People’s Committee had made three compensation payments worth over VNĐ440 billion ($18.85 million) to 269 households, according to Dũng.
Recently, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered the province to speed up site clearance and compensation as well as disbursement for the airport project in accordance with the law.
The PM also set a deadline for the assessment of cleared land for compensation purposes by the end of November.
He asked the Ministry of Transport to work with the province and resolve problems to ensure that the project remains on schedule.
Lại Xuân Thanh, chairman of the Airports Corporation of Việt Nam (ACV), which is the airport’s investor, said the corporation had submitted a feasibility study report for the first phase of the airport to the State Appraisal Council for assessment before submitting it to the Government for approval.
Thanh said the corporation would not delay putting the airport into operation by 2025. “If approved by the council, the feasibility study report will be submitted to the PM for approval, hopefully ensuring the plan to complete the first phase of the airport by 2025.”
The State Appraisal Council, which was supposed to submit the report to the PM for review in March, must ensure the quality of the assessment report.
Once fully operational, Long Thành airport is expected to reduce the load on Tân Sơn Nhất international airport in HCM City and become a major international aviation hub in the region.
To build the airport, the site clearance project must acquire more than 5,000ha of land and more than 364 extra hectares for two household resettlement sites.
Covering more than 5,580ha, the airport has an investment of more than VNĐ336 trillion ($14.6 billion). It will be located in six communes in Long Thành District in Đồng Nai Province.
Around 4,800 local households and 26 organisations are expected to be relocated to make way for the proposed airport.
The project includes three investment phases with the ultimate goal of making the airport capable of serving 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.
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. It is expected to be completed by 2025. — VNS