Aviation experts give opinions on Long Thanh Airport project

The Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences yesterday hosted a seminar collecting opinions from leading experts in the aviation industry on the necessity as well as problems of the gigantic and controversial Long Thanh International Airport project.

Associate Professor Tran Dinh Thien, head of Vietnam Economics Institute, said that the airport building idea took shape 20 years ago. It is part of the economic development plan of the southern key economic zone. After a long time of preparation, a big project with a strategic and objective vision is built.

Professor Vo Dai Luoc said that the project low quality had caused controversial opinions. He found the project inconvincible and proposed the Ministry of Transport to set up a group of experts to rewrite it.

According to the Ministry of Transport, Long Thanh Airport project aims to reduce overloading for Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. But the public has kept questioning that why the Government does not upgrade Tan Son Nhat Airport instead of building a new airport.

Dr. Luong Hoai Nam said that Tan Son Nhat upgrading was expected to cost up to US$2-3 billion. However the airport will go overloaded a decade after being broadened.

The most concerning matter is from capital source for the project. The ministry has said that social sources would be mobilized to reduce pressure on public debt.

Dr. Nam proposed the ministry should further discuss and clarify investment modals and capital sources for Long Thanh Airport. The ministry should pay attention to public investment and public private partnership modals. Foreign investment should be permitted by the National Assembly.

Lawyer Tran Vu Hai questioned why the Government does not used 160 hectares planned for a golf course for broadening Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang affirmed that the ministry always listen to and appreciate opinions from experts and residents on the project.

The nine session of the 13th National Assembly entered the third working week on June 1. Its agenda comprises two important contents including Long Thanh airport project and the East Sea issue.

If the NA approves the project at this session, the ministry will build a feasibility report, said transport minister.

By Bich Quyen – Translated by Hai Mien

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