The proposal to construct a $160-million airport in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai under a public-private partnership model has recently received the support of the Ministry of Transport.
The new airport would make the province more accessible for travellers Photo: Duc Thanh
The ministry (MoT) became the first government management agency to advocate the Lao Cai People’s Committee as the authorised agent overseeing the project’s implementation.
The MoT explained that development projects normally source capital from the central budget under the 2015 Law on State Budget, however, in light of present budget constraints, it is necessary to find other capital sources to help build the transport infrastructure. They therefore would like the local authorities to select investors to support the airport project.
“The MoT and relevant government agencies will support the Lao Cai People’s Committee and ensure they follow current regulations,” said Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Nhat.
In February, the Lao Cai People’s Committee proposed that the project be implemented under the PPP format. In the meantime, they have requested that the government assign the provincial authority as the government agency handling the project. Essentially, this means that Lao Cai People’s Committee will draw up the project proposal, select investors, and sign contracts, as regulated in governmental Decree No.15/2015/ND-CP.
Chairman of the Lao Cai People’s Committee Dang Xuan Phong said that once approved, the proposal could help resolve the project’s capital dilemma.
Lao Cai airport is designed to become a 4C standard airport for both civil and military use, able to receive A320, A321, and equivalent aircraft. Once completed, the airport will contain two aircraft parking spaces, and will have an annual capacity of 560,000 passengers and 600 tonnes of freight. By 2030, its capacity will increase to 1.58 million passengers and 2,880 tonnes of freight per year, and will include five parking spaces for aircraft.
In the future, Lao Cai airport will also encompass a specialised terminal on a 10,000 square metres space, with a designed capacity of 308 passengers/peak hour, increasing later to 634 passengers/peak hour.
The airport will also be able to handle flights to all domestic airports, as well as certain international airports, namely in Indonesia (Jakarta), Singapore, Malaysia, China (Kunming), and Laos (Vientiane).
Sun Group, a local leading property developer, was reported to be one of the first to file an investment proposal with the MoT and the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).
“The early commitment of a big investor like Sun Group to the project shows that Lao Cai airport has great potential,” said CAAV’s deputy chief Dao Van Chuong.