Runway upgrade at Tan Son Nhat airport to finish by year-end hinh anh 1The Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City (Photo courtesy of the Airport Corporation of Vietnam)

HCM City (VNA) - Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has urged contractors to complete the upgrade of four taxiways and one of HCM City-based Tan Son Nhat International Airport’s two runways by the year-end to meet heightened travel demand for the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday. 

Speaking at a recent meeting with contractors, The said the project needs speeding up to ensure that it be ready by early 2021.

In June, the ministry assigned the Cuu Long Corporation for Investment Development and Project Management of Infrastructure (CIPM) to implement the project, along with the consortium of ACC Airport Construction Company Ltd., CIENC04 Joint Stock Company, and Civil Engineering Construction Joint Stock Company 647. 

According to CIPM, the runway upgrade project, which includes 13 bidding packages, has completed 41 percent of its work.

The runway is expected to be completed in November and will be tested for 45 days before opening in early 2021, as planned, according to CIPM.

CIPM has requested that the Government approve the remaining capital of 320 billion VND (13.8 million USD) for project implementation this year.

The said he would seek capital disbursement approval from the Government, and assured that “there would be no shortage of capital”.

The ordered the contractors to ensure that technology used in the new signal lighting systems at the upgraded runway is consistent with the other runway to ensure flight safety. 

“Because the number of flights has dropped significantly due to the pandemic, an early finish for the project could be done,” he said.

The transport chief also ordered the Southern Airports Authority to continue enhancing oversight of the renovation by ensuring security, safety, environmental sanitation, and fire prevention and safety.

The upgrade work began on the runway and four taxiways on June 30.

Tan Son Nhat has two parallel runways, 3.8km long and 45m wide each, designed to handle wide-bodied aircraft used for long-haul flights. During the upgrade, aircraft will take off and land on the other runway. 

The upgrade project costs more than 2 trillion VND (86.25 million USD) and is divided into two phases. The first phase upgrades one runway and four taxiways (over six months).

The second phase will include construction of other works for flight management, signal lights, reflective paint on runways and taxiways, and new drainage systems and ancillary works (over 14 months).

In a related issue, work to upgrade runway and taxiways also began in June at Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport, according to the ministry.

The ministry has assigned the Vietnam Aviation Administration, Vietnam Airport Corporation, and Vietnam Flight Management Corporation to work closely with the contractors and the ministry to ensure safety and security during construction as well as the quality and progress of the project.

Since 2017 runways and taxiways at both Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai airports have shown cracks, subsidence and several broken concrete slabs due to overloading, the ministry said.

Flight operations would likely be disrupted if the current deterioration of the runway surface was not repaired or upgraded in time, it said.

The existing runway and taxiway systems of the two airports would not meet demand by 2025, when 44 million passengers are expected per year at the Noi Bai airport and 50 million at the Tan Son Nhat airport.

Last year, the two airports served 70.5 million passengers, accounting for 60.5 percent of the country’s total passenger volume./.