Expansion plan for Vietnam’s largest airport to be finalized on March
Updated at Saturday, 03 Mar 2018, 16:00
The Hanoitimes - The government is eyeing to conclude the expansion plan of Tan Son Nhat Airport this March.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has just assigned the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to gather opinions from consulting firms and experts to complete the airport’s expansion plan and submit adjustments to Vice PM Trinh Dinh Dung before the government makes a final decision in March.
ADPi, the French consulting firm hired by Vietnam’s transport ministry, believes the airport should be prepared to handle 51 million passengers and one million tons of cargo per year by 2025.
The firm recommended limiting the airport’s capacity to 50 million passengers by 2025 so that there would be no need for a new runway, which can lead to high costs and increased environmental as well as noise pollution. Instead, ADPi has proposed constructing a new terminal with a capacity of 20 million passengers to the south of the airport.
Nonetheless, the expert group of Ho Chi Minh City, based on their findings that the airport would be expected to serve 60-70 million passengers by 2025, has offered other suggestions.
Dr Nguyen Thien Tong, former head of the Department of Aviation Technology under the Technology University of Ho Chi Minh City, said a third runway of Tan Son Nhat Airport should be built by then, in case the Long Thanh Airport construction is delayed, to avoid the high cost due to airport congestion.
Besides, “the city wants to expand Tan Son Nhat Airport to the north, regardless of if there's a new runway or not”, Tong added.
Amid conflicting proposals, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the ministry will continue to gather opinions on the expansion project and determine investment efficiency. “The airport expansion must also take into account the development of other airports in the southern region, especially Long Thanh International Airport, which is scheduled to be put into operation in 2025,” Dong said.
Citing the airports of Haneda and Narita in Japan or Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi in Thailand, Dong said it would be of utmost importance for Tan Son Nhat airport to meet transport demand by 2025. “It’s necessary to balance the operation of both Tan Son Nhat and Long Thanh airports”, Dong pointed out.
Tan Son Nhat now has two terminals serving 32 million passengers annually, well above its designed capacity of 25 million. It only has two runways that are sometimes closed due to flooding or lightning strikes. The airport also has space for only 57 aircraft at a time.