Planning work on a large international airport on the island district of Van Don, north-eastern Quang Ninh province, has been completed, according to the provincial People's Committee.

The planned airport construction is expected to cost almost 2 billion USD and is divided into three phases with the first expected to be completed by 2014.

The airport is part of a development plan for Van Don Economic Zone, which was ratified by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in July 2007. In 2010, Vietnam's Joinus Company Ltd and the Republic of Korea Airports Corporation worked together to survey and suggest a BOT (build, operate, transfer) project to build a 400-ha Van Don International Airport in Doan Ket commune in Van Don district in Quang Ninh province.

The Korea Airports Corporation is an experienced, capable airport manager and operator that manages and runs 14 domestic and international airports in the Republic of Korea.

The province's leaders proposed that the Prime Minister allow the two companies to implement the project under the BOT model.

The investment proposal follows Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's comments at a meeting with leaders of Quang Ninh province on May this year, with the Prime Minister agreeing in principle for BOT operations and the use of the airport for international flights.

According to Deputy Transport Minister Pham Qui Tieu, the Ministry of Transport would encourage investors to diversify investment models in different sectors of the civil aviation industry. He said the management and the use of airports were complicated and related to national defence and security. To make the project suitable with the country's current regulations, the ministry also asked investors to conduct an in-depth study following the Build and Transfer (BT) model for further selection.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, the investment proposal and location selection of the airport must be adapted to the development plan for Van Don Economic Zone by 2020 and toward 2030, ratified by the Prime Minister in Decision 1296/QD-TTg dated August, 19, 2009.

The airport is expected to receive international flights and contribute to making Van Don a leading trade, financial and tourism centre in Vietnam. It is also expected to help strengthen national defence and security in the region, promote tourism, and help overcome natural disasters in the north-east of the country.

In 2006, the Prime Minister approved a plan for socio-economic development in Van Don Economic Zone, Quang Ninh province in Decision 786/QD-TTg. The decision also outlined sea and island-related tourism development aimed at creating a diverse range of high quality, unique and attractive tourist destinations and construction of an international standard airport to supplement the development demands of Quang Ninh and north-eastern Vietnam as a whole.
The economic zone is expected to attract 40 investment projects with a combined investment capital of 5.15 billion USD by 2015. Covering an area of 2,171 square kilometres, the zone is on its way to becoming a luxury eco-tourism area as well as an economic hub to house some 150,000 residents by 2020./.