Huynh Kim Lap, the group’s chairman, told VIR that “After discussions, Thien Tan and Global Universal have agreed to establish a joint venture (JV). However, we have not yet reached any agreement on each other’s stake in the JV.”
“Thien Tan hopes that the two sides will reach a consensus on the issue at a meeting on April 27 or 28 to fast-track the project, which lies in the central economic hub,” he disclosed, adding that “The company has engaged a Japanese consultancy firm, which is also working on the Long Thanh international airport project, located in the southern province of Dong Nai.
We plan to submit a report on the investment opportunities to the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the Airports Corporation of Vietnam for approval soon before making further steps on the project.”
According to Lap, Global Universal is very interested in the Chu Lai airport expansion project.
To help speed up the project, Global Universal has approached Hong Kong-registered JK&D International Ltd to join the project as project manager and administrator.
JK&D has financed and constructed many similar projects worldwide, including the US$700 million Nikola Tesla airport expansion project in Belgrade and the US$3.5 billion New Almaty airport in Kazakhstan (as well as renovations to the existing Almaty airport).
“JK&D has already taken steps to have our Tier 1 lenders ready to issue the necessary Letters of Intent (LOIs) as soon as the JK&D assessment is complete, 45 days from our commencing activities. Our team is primed and ready to depart for Quang Ngai to start the JK&D process,” Brian G. Dennard, managing director of JK&D International, told VIR.
“The Tier 1 EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) team for Chu Lai consists of Yooshin Engineering, Heerim Architecture, and Saehan Engineering.
This is the team that designed, engineered and constructed Incheon international airport, the number one airport in the world for the past 10 years. Tier 1 financial institution partners include Shinhan Investments Asia, Meritz Securities, CIMB, KDB Daewoo, Mirae Asset, Kookmin Bank, and KoFC,” he disclosed.
Approved in January 2016 by the MoT, Chu Lai airport will be expanded towards the neighbouring province of Quang Ngai, with the estimated investment capital of US$1 billion. The expansion is expected to help save costs and time for investors seeking to do business in the two localities.
Thien Tan earlier proposed upgrading and expanding the airport under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) format. Once finished, the facility will help boost investment in Dung Quat and Chu Lai economic zones as well as the development of tourism in Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces.
Covering a total area of over 3,400 hectares, Chu Lai airport currently handles 34 weekly flights with three airlines: national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and Jetstar Pacific. In 2015, the airport served 154,550 passengers, up 284.5% from 2014.
The expanded airport is expected to become an air cargo transport hub, shifting five million tonnes of cargo per year.