Most of Vietnam’s lawmakers supported the construction of the Long Thanh International Airport during their discussion at the ongoing ninth session of the 13th National Assembly in Hanoi on June 4.

Deputies said the investment in the project in southern Dong Nai province will ease overload at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, which is designed to hold a maximum capacity of 25 million passengers per annum and forecast to be overloaded from 2017.

The project is also in accordance with the development planning in the southern key economic region that accounts for 46 percent of the nation’s total passengers.

The Government’s report indicates that an alternative proposal to increase the capacity of Tan Son Nhat airport to 40-50 million passengers per year is unfeasible since the total cost for this solution is around 9.1 billion USD, excluding expenses for planning, rebuilding implementing technical infrastructure and upgrading the transport system.

The expansion of Bien Hoa military airport and the increased utilisation of some airports in the south is also not feasible since they play separate roles in ensuring national defence and security.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) forecasts Vietnam will rank third among 10 countries to see the highest number of aviation passengers in the Asia-Pacific.

The total investment estimate for the project is revised down to 15.8 billion USD from an original 18.7 billion USD, due to scaling down the area of clearance land, the items of construction and more accurate calculation of investment costs.

Deputy Tran Du Lich from Ho Chi Minh City said it is urgent to build the first phase of Long Thanh Airport so that it can become operational before 2025 to meet demand of the southern key economic region.

At the same time, many deputies suggested focusing on the management of the project’s progress to avoid capital waste.-VNA