|A possible design for the airport, shortlisted by Airport Corporation of Vietnam
Securing land is the top concern
According to a source of VIR, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved the Ministry of Transport (MoT)’s proposal of dividing the resettlement and site clearance compensation procedures for Long Thanh International Airport into different component projects.
The PM assigned MoT to sign the content related to Long Thanh Airport on his behalf in the report submitted to the 14th National Assembly (NA). Previously, on May 24, MoT said that the component projects of site clearance compensation and resettlement must be done before the feasibility study report is approved by the NA, otherwise, site clearance and resettlement will become a bottleneck in the project.
It is expected that the feasibility study of the Long Thanh Airport project will be completed and submitted to the NA for approval in 2019. In case the NA agrees to the component projects, the Dong Nai People’s Committee will implement site clearance compensation at the same time as dealing with the feasibility study.
If the feasibility study of Long Thanh Airport is passed by the NA in 2019, Dong Nai authorities can hand over clean land for the project in 2020 to prepare for the implementation of the next stages. This project will be constructed on a 5,000-hectare area and it will affect the lives of over 4,000 households, an equivalent of 15,000 people.
This is a challenge for Dong Nai, because one of the prerequisites for Long Thanh Airport to be put into operation in 2025 after the first phase of construction is that Dong Nai has to hand over at least 2,500 hectares of land to the project no later than the beginning of 2019.
Notably, because the construction of Long Thanh Airport depends on the progress of handing over land, implementation may be extended by about two to three years, not to mention the increases in site clearance compensation due to the rising market price of the surrounding areas. Also, the extension of project implementation will heavily influence the daily lives of local residents.
Proposal of using national budget
According to Tran Van Vinh, Deputy Chairman of the Dong Nai People’s Committee, the total expected area needing clearance is about 5,614.65ha, including 5,000 hectares of land for airport construction and another 614.65ha for resettlement and cemetery areas. There are 4,730 households and individuals, an equivalent of about 15,000 people, and 26 organisations whose land plots will be affected by the site clearance.
However, in accordance with the Law on Construction 2014, the division into component projects should be stipulated in the investment decision. Besides, the Law on Investment 2014 states that the PM can decide on important national projects only after the in-principle investment decisions are made by the NA.
Thus, the PM can decide on dividing the Long Thanh Airport project into different component projects and allow these projects to be implemented independently only after the project’s feasibility study is approved by the NA.
“The in-principle approval would allow us to start the most complicated step in this big project,” an expert from the Vietnam Bridge and Road Association said.
The planning of Long Thanh Airport stretches over six communes (Binh Son, Suoi Trau, Cam Duong, Long An, Long Phuoc and Bau Can in Long Thanh district). It was announced in 2005, since when people’s lives have been significantly affected.
Some leaders in Dong Nai said that people living in these areas cannot make long-term investment and business choices, and they cannot build steady houses because their land use rights are limited. In addition, no infrastructure investments are made, making life harder for residents.
According to information from MoT, to speed up the progress, the PM directed the Dong Nai People’s Committee to create a plan on building resettlement areas while conducting the feasibility study for Long Thanh Airport, as well as to build a specific mechanism on site clearance, compensation, and support people to resettle.
Currently, the Dong Nai People’s Committee has completed the plan as well as framed policies on compensation and resettlement. In addition, it has completed the detailed planning of the project on building resettlement areas and has built a project on rehabilitating the people affected.
Due to the large scale of site clearance for the project, including over 5,600ha for resettlement areas, the VND5 trillion ($220 million) approved by the NA for this purpose is a drop in the ocean. The Dong Nai People’s Committee estimated the cost for site clearance, compensation, and building resettlement areas to be about VND23 trillion ($1.01 billion), including VND5.03 trillion ($221.32 million) for building resettlement areas.
Thus, MoT proposed to use the national budget for this stage, as it is difficult to call for official development assistance (ODA) capital as well as other capital from private enterprises for site clearance and compensation. However, a part of this capital may be reimbursed later from the proceeds of the open auction for land use rights to build commercial and service buildings or from short-term land leasing fees applied for the areas waiting for the airport project to be constructed.
“The government will continue reporting to the NA about reviewing the amount and supply of capital for this project,” Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia said.
Overview of the Long Thanh International Airport project
- Long Thanh International Airport has annual capacity of 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of cargo.
- The cost estimate of the whole project is VND336.630 trillion ($16.03 billion, in 2014 price). Of the total, the first phase is VND114.450 trillion, an equivalent of $5.45 billion.
- The project’s funding comes from the national budget, ODA, money from equitising SOEs in the air industry, Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) capital, and other sources of capital, in accordance with laws and regulations.
- The implementation of Long Thanh Airport will be divided into three phases.
- The first phase will be completed in 2025, consisting of a runway and a passenger terminal, as well as other auxiliary constructions. These constructions are expected to handle 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year.
- The second phase will be completed in 2035. This phase will construct one runway and one passenger terminal so the airport will be able to serve up to 50 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo each year.
- The third phase will be completed after 2035. This phase will finish the remaining constructions of the project, so that the airport will handle 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of cargo each year.
Site clearance scale
- Total estimated site clearance is 5,614.65ha, comprising of 5,000ha for constructing the airport, and a total of 614.65ha for resettlement and cemetery areas.
- There are 4,730 households and individuals, an equivalent of about 15,000 people, and 26 organisations (including religious organisations, headquarters of state agencies, schools, health clinics, and enterprises), which own land plots included in the site clearance plan of the Long Thanh project.
- Total estimated cost for site clearance, compensation, and support for resettlement is about VND23 trillion ($1.01 billion) (in 2017 prices).