Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai province have urged the government to make a decision on Long Thanh International Airport project as quickly as possible, according to a report by the Vietnam Investment Review.

Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport was projected to receive 13 million passengers a year by 2015, but handled 20 million passengers in 2013. The airport can no longer expand due to a lack of available land.

Authorities in the city and Dong Nai, home to the planned Long Thanh Airport, believe Tan Son Nhat will face serious overloading during the next two to three years, while the government has yet to make a final decision on Long Thanh, the report said.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam said it would take around 10 years for the airport to receive government approval, design the site, raise finances, clear the site and then complete construction. They’ve urged the project to start now so that the first stage can be finished by 2020 to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo a year.

According to a Dong Nai zoning plan, Long Thanh Airport will cover 5,000 hectares in Long Thanh district, about an hour from Ho Chi Minh City along national highways 1 and 51. This travel time would be cut to less than half an hour when the partially-finished Ho Chi Minh-Long Thanh-Dau Giay motorway opened to traffic on January 2.

The project is planned to be developed in three phases. The first from 2015 to 2020 requires 6.7 billion USD to build two runways, taxiways, aprons and two terminals.

In the second phase, another runway will be built and passenger capacity doubled, with cargo capacity increased to 1.5 million tonnes by 2030.

In the third phase, the airport would have four runways and be able to handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of cargo.

The report quoted Japanese consultants involved in the project as saying that construction of Long Thanh Airport would cost about 8 billion USD, while the expansion of Tan Son Nhat Airport, if even possible, would cost up to 9.1 billion USD.-VNA