A section of the flying area in Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Transport (MoT) on September 19 sent a document proposing the Ministry of Finance to allocate nearly 4.5 trillion VND (193.5 million USD) for upgrading two key runways in the country’s largest international airports.

According the MoT, cracks and other signs of degradation have been found on two runways in HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport.

“If the two runways are not fixed soon, it could lead to the suspension of operation of the runways,” the ministry said the document.

MoT Deputy Minister Le Dinh Tho said the major cause of the degradation was that runway 07L/25R in Tan Son Nhat International Airport and runway 1B of Noi Bai International Airport have been overexploited for a long time.

Although the two runways have been found to be degraded, the overuse has continued due to high travelling demand in the past time, he said.

“So, it’s imperative to maintain and repair the two runways now,” he said, adding that the cracks and signs of degradation are believed to pose risks to flight safety.

Previously, the transport ministry had submitted a proposal to the Government for additional funds, withdrawn from the Government’s reserve fund, to fix the runways but it failed.

Lai Xuan Thanh, Chairman of the Board of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation (VAC), said runway 07L/25R was put into operation in June 2013 with designed capacity of 55,100 take-offs and landing over 10 years.

Nevertheless, data from the VAC shows that the runway has facilitated 126,000 take-offs and landings between June 2013 and April 2018.

Runway 1B was put into operation in 2003 and was designed for 10,500 take-offs and landings over 20 years. However, the figure was up to 284,200 by April 2018, he said.

Thanh also acknowledged the risk that operations on the runways could be suspended if maintenance is not prompt.  

The suspension would put more pressures on the other runways of the two airports and reduce the capacity of the country’s two most crowded airports, he said.-VNA