Phase one of the Long Thanh International Airport project in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam may miss the deadline to be put into service in 2025, as lots of work for the first phase is being carried out at a snail’s pace, especially the selection of a capable contractor to build its passenger terminal.
Experts in the field said this project falling behind schedule would make Tan Son Nhat International Airport in neighboring Ho Chi Minh City even more overwhelmed by a soaring number of air passengers and result in a large amount of opportunity cost for economic growth.
Work on passenger terminal to be completed in 2026
Thousands of workers along with numerous pieces of machinery are working to build the foundation of the airport. However, a capable contractor to construct the passenger terminal, the most important package of the airport, has yet to be chosen.
While awaiting to find a qualified contractor, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), the project investor, has sought the Vietnamese government’s nod to extend the deadline to complete the passenger terminal till 2026, or from 33 months to 39 in order to have more time for construction and trial operation.
In its report on the project’s slow progress sent to the prime minister, the ACV said the total budget for the project is VND98.5 trillion (US$4.1 billion).
The ACV had to cancel the bidding for the passenger terminal package, worth nearly VND35 trillion ($1.48 billion), since only one contractor submitted its bidding dossiers, which failed to meet the requirements.
|An excavator is operated at the construction site of the Long Thanh International Airport project in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Son Dinh / Tuoi Tre|
Using domestic capital to build the passenger terminal is unprecedented. Also, carrying out international bidding activities faced obstacles due to the overlap between the country’s prevailing regulations and international practices, the ACV said.
A schedule of 33 months to complete the package for the passenger terminal has posed a great challenge for both international and domestic contractors, as it normally takes 45-60 months for work on similar passenger terminals in the world to be done, the ACV explained.
The project investor also admitted its shortcomings in making a forecast for the project’s progress.
Construction of resettlement facilities remains slow
Aside from the passenger terminal, the construction at the Loc An-Binh Son resettlement project linked to the airport is also being conducted sluggishly.
This resettlement project, dedicated to local residents who were required to relocate to make room for the airport development, comprises 11 packages being schools, the headquarters of the local government, and a cultural center, according to the Dong Nai Province People’s Committee.
However, one contractor in charge of six packages, including five schools and one cultural center, had its construction contract terminated earlier than expected, for it failed to meet the deadlines despite being reminded.
Commenting on measures to restart the six packages mentioned above, the provincial government said it is processing contract termination and liquidation procedures with the contractor and then will find a more suitable one to complete the pending work in August this year.
In addition, a plan to offer employment and create stable incomes for affected residents has been bogged down.
Vo Tan Duc, vice-chairman of the provincial government, said costs for training and providing employment for affected residents were taken into account in the feasibility study of the phase one.
The authorities also conducted a survey to estimate how many people need job training but only a few said yes, Duc added.
The province is set to tap its own budget to offer job training to affected residents, he announced.
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