Final zoning plan for new airport approved

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved Long Thanh International Airport’s final zoning plan, paving the way for the big-ticket project to get off the ground in the southern province of Dong Nai by 2015 as scheduled.

The Prime Minister signed Decision 909/QD-TTg for the airport project in Long Thanh District on Tuesday, or two months after he had agreed in principle on the zoning plan proposed by the Ministry of Transport and prepared by Japanese airport consulting firm JAC.

In the final zoning plan, Long Thanh International Airport would be developed in three phases.

The first phase in 2015-2020 is consisted of a terminal able to receive 25 million passengers a year and a 1.2-million-ton cargo terminal, and two parallel runways able to handle the world’s current double-deck super jet Airbus A380.

Other supporting facilities to be developed in this phase include taxiways, parking lots for airplanes, a management building, and an aviation industry park.

The first phase requires total capital of more than US$6.7 billion as stated in the decision, with US$696.5 million for site clearance and compensation and the rest for construction.

The State budget, Government bond sale and official development assistance loans are the main sources for construction of the runways, taxiways, aircraft parking areas, roads leading to the airport, site clearance and compensation, and power and water supply components.

Corporate funds and public-private partnerships will mainly finance passenger and cargo terminals, areas for car parking and aircraft repair, the operation building, jet fuel supply and food processing facilities, and other commercial components.

The decision also states that Vietnam Airlines Corporation will have priority to invest in the project and use Long Thanh International Airport as its main hub when the airport goes online, scheduled by 2020.

In the second phase until 2030, Long Thanh will have a total of three runways with each measuring 4,000 meters in length and 60 meters in width for modern aircraft to land and take off, and terminals for 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tons of cargo per year.

As outlined in the third phase after 2030, a fourth runway will be built at the 5,000-hectare airport and there will be four terminals capable of handling 100 million passengers a year. The cargo terminal will be expanded to handle up to five million tons per year.

The Prime Minister told the transport ministry and relevant agencies to complete investment and construction procedures between 2011 and 2014 in preparation for the first phase to be developed in 2015-2020.

Long Thanh will gradually replace the existing Tan Son Nhat to become Vietnam’s biggest international airport and one of the regional hubs for international airlines. But, Tan Son Nhat will continue to serve international flights when Long Thanh Airport is put into operation.

Long Thanh is expected to handle 90 percent of the international flights and 20% of the domestic services in the south from 2020 till 2035 while Tan Son Nhat in HCMC will take respective proportions of 10 percent and 80 percenr.

In July 2005, the Prime Minister approved the location, scale and functional areas of Long Thanh airport. In December 2006, Southern Airports Authority and Dong Nai Province announced a zoning plan for this important airport project, which is 43 kilometers from Tan Son Nhat.

Earlier this year, the transport ministry proposed Long Thanh be connected with the HCMC-Long Thanh-Dau Giay expressway. Japan agreed to provide some 40.95 billion yen (US$600 million) for this expressway and the Danang-Quang Ngai expressway project in line with credit agreements signed in Hanoi on Tuesday.

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