Tan Son Nhat International Airport suggested to expand southwards

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The chaired a meeting on February 27 on possible solutions for the expansion of Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport suggested to expand southwards

Among them, the suggestion to develop southwards was much preferred thanks to its various advantages.
According to the Minister, the Ministry of Transport especially cares about the upgrade and enlargement of Tan Son Nhat International Airport to cope with the current serious traffic congestion.
Many solutions have been proposed, each of which received contradictory opinions as well as concerns over specific group interest.
Consequently, the Ministry has asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to hire an independent foreign consultant to objectively analyze the project.
In the meeting, ADPi Engineering, the chosen French consultant, reported the estimated traffic volume of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in 2025.
It was anticipated that there would be 51 million passengers using the airport per year, 301 million times of taking-off and landings annually, and 960 tons of transported cargoes each year. Based on this estimation, ADPi pointed out disadvantages of the airport.
The parallel runways are now so near each other that two airplanes cannot simultaneously take off and land according to standards while the taxiway system cannot meet the high demand of traffic.
Managing tools for taking off and landing have not been equiped well. In addition, the apron area of the airport is mostly for large aeroplanes, but in reality, medium-sized ones are the main user. The two current terminals can only serve a maximum of 25 million passengers.
Most importantly, many  air carriers have to share one boarding area and the only way to enter the airport is through road transport.
From the analyses, ADPi suggested that in 2025, Tan Son Nhat International Airport should be expanded to welcome 50 million passengers per year. However, the construction of a new runway is impractical due to time, financial, and environmental limits.
Therefore, it was recommended that the government should focus on upgrading existing runways and adding more taxiways while improving methods to exploit the skyway and re-organizing parking, apron areas for airplanes as well as boarding areas for passengers.
It was also suggested that more ways to access the airport should be considered. Among different solutions for this development, ADPi chose to expand southwards thanks to its various benefits compared to enlarging northwards, such as reducing the surface area which needs to be reclaimed since much of this is available for construction, lessening the distance among terminals, making it simpler to operate, optimizing land use, and decreasing construction time.
The development of commercial and supporting services will be made northwards where the reclaiming area is not too large.
In the meeting, representatives of the Ministry of Defense affirmed that they were ready to give land for the development of civil aviation when needed.

However, the government must be cautious to guarantee that defensing units for directly protecting the airport and the skies of Ho Chi Minh City can perform their responsibilities successfully.
ADPi was also requested to comprehensively calculate all necessary costs for reclaiming land to begin the project.
Minister Nguyen Van The asked the French consultant to answer all questions raised by experts and then report data transparently before official documents are submitted to the Prime Minister.
The Minister also suggested that the consultant considered the optimal method for this airport in close relation with other neighboring ones.
According to the Minister, those neighboring airports are not working at their full capacity to take the load off Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
For instance, Can Tho Airport has the capacity of serving 5 million passengers, yet it now only welcomes around 500 thousand. There must be solutions for exploiting this airport to serve residents of the Mekong Delta.
Representatives of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City attended the meeting. 

By BICH QUYEN – Translated by Yen Nhi

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