South or north? Expanding Tan Son Nhat International Airport

There are many arguments related to the solutions proposed by ADPi and local organisations to expand Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

south or north? expanding tan son nhat international airport hinh 0
ADPi is a French company specialised in airport architechture and engineering. This company was appointed as the consultant contractor to draw up the plan of Tan Son Nhat airport in Octorber 2017. ADPi proposed enlarging the airport to the north and south but limiting its capacity to 50 million passengers by 2025 to avoid the need for a new runway. It said the construction of a new runway would be expensive and cause increased environmental and noise pollution.

Instead, the company proposed building a new terminal with the capacity of 20 million passengers at the southern end of the airport and more cargo terminals and plane maintenance facilities in the north.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City has been already able to handle 36 million passengers per year, way above its design capacity, according to ADPi.

According to ADPi, the airport should be prepared to handle 51 million passengers and one million tonnes of cargo per year by 2025. Under the proposal, the expansion would cost over VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion), excluding site clearance costs.

The proposal is similar to one made by the Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) Airport Design and Construction Company (ADCC), which also included new terminals, parking areas, and technical facilities, while leaving out the construction of a new runway.

Under ADCC's proposal, the expansion would need 24 hectares of land currently controlled by the ministry and would cost VND19 trillion ($830 million). It would take 2-3 years and would increase the airport's capacity to 43-45 million passengers per year.

According to the expert group set up by Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan, expanding Tan Son Nhat to the north is more plausible. Around 157ha of land managed by MoD lies to the north of the airport, including a golf course. The location is suitable for transport connections and the construction of more terminals, confirmed the group.

The group has submitted two proposals to the prime minister. Under the first proposal, no new runways would be built, while the second proposal would construct a third runway. Both proposals suggest expanding the airport to the north.

Under Ho Chi Minh City’s proposal, Vietnam should build a third terminal with the capacity of 10 million passengers from 2018- 2020, and a fourth terminal with the capacity of 20 million passengers from 2020-2022, raising the airport’s combined capacity to 55 million passengers. It should then construct a third runway and expand the fourth terminal in 2022-2025, increasing the airport’s capacity to 70 million passengers.

The Ministry of Transport will collect opinions from consulting groups and report to Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung before submitting the plan to the government’s standing committee for the final decision later this month.

Covering 800 hectares, Tan Son Nhat currently has two terminals that serve 32 million passengers annually, well above its designed capacity of 25 million. It only has two runways that are sometimes closed due to floods or lightning strikes. The airport has space for 57 aircrafts at a time, but sometimes it has to handle more than 70.

Earlier, in July 2017, Aeroports de Paris (ADP), parent company of ADPi, acquired 20 per cent total shares of Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), and became strategic partner of this corporation.


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