New plan for rebuilding old airport in northwest Son La province.
Closed several times since it was built in 1950, Na San Airport in the northern mountainous province of Son La will be rebuilt before 2020.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has released its latest report on the status of Na San Airport, which is included in the master plan to construct airports in the northwest region, which includes Na San, Lai Chau Airport, and Lao Cai Airport, with total investment capital of VND10 trillion ($450 million).
According to the master plan, Na San Airport will have total investment capital of nearly VND2 trillion ($91.2 million), including VND1.37 trillion ($61.6 million) for its apron and VND612 billion ($27.5 million) for a passenger terminal, with an expected capacity of 900,000 passengers per year by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2030.
Mr. Lai Xuan Thanh, Head of CAAV, said that capital mobilization from the State budget for the airport’s construction is difficult because it is not included in the medium-term investment plan for 2016-2020.
“In order to carry out construction before 2020, CAAV has proposed the Ministry of Transport (MoT) report to the Prime Minister on State budget support for certain parts of the airport, with capital of VND639 billion ($28.7 million),” Mr. Thanh said.
Investment in other items such as services and technology will come from private sources and total VND64 billion ($2.88 million). CAAV will call for investment and organize investor options as prescribed.
Na San Airport is 187 km from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport and 110 km from Dien Bien Phu Airport in the northwest’s Dien Bien province. CAAV has said that Na San Airport plays an important role in securing national security and economic development in Son La province in particular and the northwest region in general.
By 2030 the terminal will be expanded by an additional 9,000 sq m, with a capacity of handling 600 passengers during peak hour, or 1.5 million a year.
MoT is also scheduled to build runways, loading areas, administrative areas, flight control decks, and roads across a total area of 498 ha by 2030.
The airport was built in 1950 by the French. During Vietnam’s resistance war against the French colonialists it was used as an entrenched fortification by the French Army.
In the 1960s it was renovated to serve travel demand to the northwest region but was closed soon after. It was then re-opened for a decade, but since 1994 has remained unused.
In the master plan for constructing airports in the northwest region, Lai Chau Airport is to see construction begin in 2017 and completed by 2022, with total investment of over VND4.7 trillion ($211.5 million) in the first phase. It will have a capacity of 40,000 passengers per year.
Lao Cai Airport, meanwhile, will have total investment of over VND3 trillion ($135 million) in the first phase, from private capital in the form of direct investment or public-private partnerships. The project is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2019. It will be built as a domestic airport with a capacity of 560,000 passengers per year.