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National Assembly ratifies construction of $16bn airport in southern Vietnam

Thursday, June 25, 2015, 11:52 GMT+7
National Assembly ratifies construction of $16bn airport in southern Vietnam
A screen displays the results of the vote on the resolution to build Long Thanh International Airport during a National Assembly meeting in Hanoi on June 25, 2015.

A proposal to build a multibillion-dollar airport in southern Vietnam has finally received the greenlight from the law-making National Assembly, which passed a resolution for the project in a vote on Thursday.

With a vote of 428-17 plus 16 abstentions, the National Assembly approved the development of Long Thanh International Airport in the eponymous district of Dong Nai Province, as they convened for the ninth session in Hanoi this morning.

Seventeen out of the 461 lawmakers attending the session cast a negative vote against the plan, whereas 16 others refused to vote.

The resolution determines that Long Thanh International Airport is a key such facility of the country, and requests that it meet the 4F standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization, and strives to become a regional hub for international air transit.

The Dong Nai-based airport must be able to handle 100 million passengers and five million metric tons of cargo a year by its last phase, according to the resolution.

The total estimate for the three-phase project is VND336.63 trillion, or $16.03 billion. The first phase of construction is expected to consume VND114.45 trillion ($5.45 billion) of the total.

The costly project is allowed to be funded by the state budget, official development assistance, capital of the developers and partners under the public-private partnership scheme, according to the resolution.

Developers are allowed to use modern construction, management and operation technologies for the project.

A 5,000-hectare land plot will be zoned for the airport, with the government tasked with site clearance and compensation for residents who have to relocate to give way to the project, the National Assembly said in the resolution.

The proposed new airport is only around 50km from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the country’s busiest, in Ho Chi Minh City.

Although the project will be implemented in three stages, the resolution only sets a timeline for the first phase.

By 2025, the first phase of the airport, consisting of the construction of a runway and a passenger terminal capable of serving 25 million passengers a year, must be put into use.

The second runway and passenger terminal will be built in the next phase, which has no deadline, to increase the capacity to 50 million passengers per annum.

The airport will continue to be upgraded to receive 100 million passengers a year by the last phase.

The National Assembly has required the government to ask relevant agencies to prepare feasibility reports for each of the implementation phases, each of which must be approved before investment starts.

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