Transport Minister Nguyen Van The said Thursday that the reason he has proposed that the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) pays first for the repairs is because the state cannot immediately disburse VND4.2 trillion ($181.27 million) for the work.
The minister proposed that ACV, which runs 23 airports, also pays for the related constructions at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Noi Bai International Airport, and the state would reimburse them later.
In Vietnam, runways are managed by the state, while the ACV manages terminals and parking lots.
“Waiting for the state’s budget would take too long. We are planning to use ACV’s budget, and ACV will supervise and be responsible for the investment,” The said.
ACV had said earlier that the two runways, 25R/07L in Tan Son Nhat and 1B in Noi Bai, are in a state of disrepair with many cracks and deformities. The repair, set to begin in a few months, is expected to take four months to complete.
Last September, the Transport Ministry had warned that the two runways needed “extremely urgent” repairs.
Tan Son Nhat airport’s runway 25R/07L is designed to handle B777-300 ERs (large aircraft used for long-haul flights) and up to 55,100 takeoffs and landings over 10 years. But in less than five years, as of April 2018, there had been a total of 126,000 takeoffs and landings.
Similarly, Noi Bai’s 1B, put into operation in 2003 and designed for around 10,500 takeoffs and landings in 20 years, had handled 284,200 in 15 years.
Vietnam’s airports have been overloaded for many years now, and upgrades have been tardy.
The biggest airport in Vietnam, Tan Son Nhat, currently handles 36 million passengers a year, way above its designed capacity of 25 million. Noi Bai handles 24 million, while its capacity is 21 million.