The multi-billion US dollar Long Thanh Airport project in southern Dong Nai province was the focus of discussion at the National Assembly on the afternoon of November 14.

Many deputies expressed approval of the policy to build a modern international airport, saying that such an airport is necessary to meet the growing demand of aviation transport, contributing to national development and defence-security.

Deputy Hoang Thi To Nga from northern Nam Dinh province was of the opinion that once operational, the Long Thanh Airport will stimulate the development of many related sectors such as services, tourism, trade and industry, particularly the aviation industry. She said the airport will work as a driving force for socio-economic development in the southern key economic region in general and the south eastern region in particular.

According to the Government’s proposal, the Long Thanh International Airport is located in the centre of the country’s largest economic hub, in Dong Nai province and just 45km from Ho Chi Minh City. Existing land and railway transport development plans for the southern key economic region fully meet the connection needs of the future airport.

However, there were concerns about the pressure of such a large-scale project on the national economy in the context of low growth quality, instable public debt payment and unclear investment effectiveness.

Some questioned the urgency of the Long Thanh project, asking the Government to explain further on this question in order to decide an appropriate time for implementing it.

Deputy Nguyen Ngoc Phuong (Quang Binh central province) said in the current difficult economic conditions, it is necessary to consider carefully the time to implement the project. According to him, the project can be started in 2018 when the economic situation becomes stable.

Deputy Huynh Nghia (Da Nang central city) proposed that the Government makes further reports on the operation of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City in the coming years.

The funding for the project attracted the most interest from lawmakers. Many agreed to the government’s proposal to mobilize capital from different economic sectors for the airport construction.

The Government’s report said total investment for the airport construction’s first phase will be around 164.589 trillion VND (7.8 billion USD). The government plans to source 84.624 trillion VND from the State budget, government bonds and ODA, and the remaining 79.965 trillion VND from the non-State sectors.

Deputies also debated the socio-economic effects of the project and issues related to land clearance and relocation of local residents.-VNA