|An airplane is landing at Điện Biên Airport in the northern province of Điện Biên. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Tư|
ĐIỆN BIÊN — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has approved a project to expand Điện Biên Airport in the northern province of Điện Biên so the airport can handle bigger planes and more flight routes.
The airport, which is 500km west of Hà Nội, is the only commercial airport in the northwest of Việt Nam.
Built in 1954, the airport currently has one runway with a length of 1,830m and a width of 30m that can only handle the ATR72 and smaller aircraft.
Its current passenger handling capacity is 0.3 million per year via its only route, Hà Nội – Điện Biên operated by Vietnam Air Services Company -VASCO.
Under the new decision, the project with a total investment of VNĐ1.547 billion (US$67.11 million) will enhance the airport’s capacity to half a million passengers a year and enable it to receive aircraft like the Airbus A321, Airbus A320 and equivalents.
The move is expected to attract more airline operators to launch flights to the airport.
The expanded airport is also expected to drive Điện Biện Province’s socio-economic development, as well as the northwestern region's in general.
The project will be implemented in 34 months and funded by the Airport Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV).
The Government leader tasked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to be responsible for the appraisal, supervision and evaluation of the expansion project.
Điện Biên Province People’s Committee is assigned to complete procedures and arrange the funding for land clearance.
According to a 2030 detailed plan from the Ministry of Transport, the Điện Biên Airport will have a capacity of two million passengers and 10,000 tonnes of cargo per year. — VNS