The northern province of Quang Ninh has obtained Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's approval to select Hanoi-based property developer Joinus Company Ltd. and its partners as "potential investors" in Van Don International Airport, one of four pivotal airports in which Vietnam is seeking foreign investment.

"The project will be carried out under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) method with an estimated total investment of 655 million USD. The construction will kick-start in the first quarter of next year at the latest," Dolien Han, general director and chairman of Joinus Company Ltd., told Vietnam News.

He added that the Australian equity fund Castlepines Corporation had delivered a written commitment to finance the development of Van Don airport and a resort complex nearby with 1.1 billion USD.

The first installment of 800 million USD will arrive after an official agreement has been reached.

Joinus has signed a consortium agreement with airport operator Korea Airports Corporation (KAC) and Korean leading builder Posco E&C.

Under the agreement, Posco E&C will provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the project, while KAC will handle airport operation, management and maintenance.

Van Don International Airport is located on Van Don Island in Quang Ninh province, home to World Heritage site Ha Long Bay.

Upon its completion, the airport with an annual capacity of more than six million passengers, will have one 3.8-kilometer-long runway to accommodate large aircraft including Boeing 747s. By 2026, the second runway will be built to allow the operation of the Airbus A380.

The investment plan will be submitted for approval by the Ministry of Investment and Planning, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Defence and local authorities of Quang Ninh province in November.

"It took our company six years to pursue this project. We are now already set up for BOT negotiations with the Vietnamese Government. I think it will take no longer than three months to get the BOT agreement signed," Joinus's Han said.

The Van Don Economic Zone is a priority in the country's development agenda. As one of the key projects in Van Don Economic Zone, Van Don International Airport is expected to help boost tourism to Ha Long Bay and Van Don Island.- VNA