Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved in principle a plan to build Phan Thiet Airport in the central province of Binh Thuan under the BOT (build-operate-transfer) model.

Under the plan, the Binh Thuan provincial People's Committee has been assigned to proceed with construction of the airport, according to the Government Office.

The province has also been asked to coordinate with the ministries of Planning and Investment, Transport and National Defence, Rang Dong Group and other relevant agencies to draw up and develop a feasibility study for the project as well as select capable investors and contractors for the project.

Rang Dong Group has asked Binh Thuan province and the Ministry of Transport for approval to invest in the airport.

Phan Thiet Airport, which will be used for both civil and military purposes, is located in Thien Nghiep commune, Phan Thiet city.

The airport will be implemented in two phases. By 2020, the airport will be developed on 360 hectares comprising a 2,400-metre runway and a 5,000-square-metre terminal able to handle 500,000 passengers and 10,000 tonnes of goods a year.

The airport is projected to be expanded to 543 hectares to be able to handle around 1 million passengers and 40,000 – 50,000 tonnes of goods a year in the 2020-30 period.

The airport requires an initial investment of 5.6 trillion VND (264.8 million USD) and is scheduled to be operational by 2017.

It is expected to help the province improve its tourism by shortening travel time for passengers from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang and Nha Trang.

Currently the country has 21 operational airports, including eight international airports.-VNA