The information was announced by Senior Lieutenant-General Tran Don, Deputy Minister of National Defense at a meeting with the south-central province’s authorities Friday.
In 2009, the government approved a plan to build Phan Thiet airport in beach town Phan Thiet of Binh Thuan, which lies more than four hours east of Ho Chi Minh City and currently has none.
The plan said the airport would span 543 hectares (1,340 acres) to serve both civilian and military purposes and invested under the build-operate-transfer format by Hanoi-based Rang Dong JSC.
It also said work would start in 2015 for the project to be finished in 2018. However, nothing had been carried out as scheduled.
In 2017, Binh Thuan proposed to upgrade the civil rating of the planned airport from 4C to 4E as regulated by International Civil Aviation Organization.
In specific, the province wanted to extend the airport’s runway from 2,400 meters to 3,050 meters in order to raise its capabilities toward the 4E rating. The increased rating would allow it to handle Airbus A320s or equivalent sized and advanced military aircraft.
The government agreed with the proposal within that year, which means the cost for the airport will stay at around VND10 trillion ($434 million).
The problem with investment capital had prevented the plan to be executed. Now, the problem has been solved, said Deputy Minister Don.
He said the Ministry of National Defense had previously relied on a plan to auction former Nha Trang airport in central Khanh Hoa Province to raise funds for building Phan Thiet airport.
However, the government has recently agreed to build Phan Thiet airport using the state budget in the form of public investment. “The government has allocated the fund for the ministry and work on the joint-use airport should be carried out soon.”
If everything is to happen as planned, construction should be finished in 20 months so the airport could start operation next year, Don noted.
Rang Dong JSC will continue to work as investor for the civilian part of the airport. As assigned by the ministry, the company has to soon complete adjustments to the re-feasibility study report for the project so work on the civilian side could be carried out at the same time as that for its military equivalent.
Vietnam currently has 22 airports, including eight in the northern and north-central regions.
The master plan for airport development the Ministry of Transport is drafting envisages building five new airports, all in the north, by 2030.
It is now in the process of collecting feedback from other government agencies and local administrations before submitting the plan to the government for approval.