In response to a proposal that Long Thanh airport should not be built in southern Dong Nai province because of its inconvenience, the Transport Ministry has reiterated that the new planned airport is the best option to solve the potential aviation overload at Tan Son Nhat.
>> PM asks ministry to mull proposal not to build airport >> Long Thanh airport to cost up to $5.6 billion The proposal, created by Le Trong Sanh, a former head of the management department at Tan Son Nhat Airport, and Mai Trong Tuan, a former pilot of Flight Crew Division 919, has been sent to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung for consideration, and the premier has asked the ministry to mull the proposal and report its opinion to him. Sanh and Tuan maintain that in order to meet increasing demand for air travel, Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat airport should be expanded, instead of investing in a new airport in Dong Nai. They said the location of the new airport would be inconvenient for transit passengers and transit goods. “No one will want to arrive in an airport in Long Thanh and then take a road trip to HCMC to take domestic flights,” Tuan said.
It is also unadvisable to build a costly new airport while the country’s economy is facing many difficulties, the proposers said. In its reply to the Prime Minister about the proposal, the ministry reiterated that the Long Thanh International airport project is the best solution to solve the overload that will occur at Tan Son Nhat in the near future. This year Tan Son Nhat will handle 19 million passengers, a figure that will increase to 20-25 million between 2018-2020. The airport will become overloaded in years afterwards as demand for air travel continues to increase, the report said. However, an expansion of the airport to meet this demand, as proposed by Sanh and Tuan, will be difficult and expensive to carry out, given its current location and condition, the ministry said. The airport is unlikely to be expanded to the north, as proposed, because many large streets and a dense population cluster make such an expansion unfeasible. In addition, any expansion of the airport will affect the life of residents in the city’s central area due to excessive noise and emissions.Most effective option According to the Airport Consultants Inc (JAC), the project’s consultant, an expansion of Tan Son Nhat to make it equivalent to the planned airport in Long Thanh will cost as much as US$25.2 billion and require the relocation of 140,000 people in many districts, the report said. Meanwhile, building Long Thanh international airport on an area of 5,000 hectares will cost far less, only $7.81 billion, and require the relocation of 1,500 households, according to JAC. The new airport project was initiated in the 1980s and has been modified over time in an effort to build a new airport that is expected to be capable of competing with other large airports in Southeast Asia. Located 40 km from HCMC, the location of the planned airport meets the related criteria. In many other countries, an international airport is usually 15-60 km away from the center of a given city and can be accessed within 45-60 minutes at most, the ministry said in its report. The project, which received a go-ahead from the government in August 2011, will be implemented in three stages, with the first one expected to start in 2015, and the facility is scheduled to become operational by 2020, and will be capable of handling 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo per year, the ministry said. The figures are expected to reach 100 million passengers and 5 million tons in the last stage, starting in 2030. The terminal will be able to receive large aircraft such as the A380-80. With such capacity, the new airport is the best solution to solve the coming overload at Tan Son Nhat, the ministry said, adding that when the new airport is put into operation, Tan Son Nhat will still be used at its design capacity of 25 million passengers per year.