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|The prime minister addressing the opening ceremony of Halong - Van Don Highway|
Covering air, water, and land, the group has invested VND20 trillion ($870 million) in developing Van Don International Airport, Halong International Cruise Port, and the Halong-Van Don Highway. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended and presided over all three opening ceremonies.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Van Don International Airport, the prime minister said: “On behalf of the government, I highly appreciate the spirit of “dare to dream, dare to do" shown by Quang Ninh province’s leaders to mobilise investment to develop the province’s infrastructure.”
PM Phuc also congratulated the provincial leaders for shifting away from the economic structure of non-sustainable infrastructure to “green” ones and also developing many kinds of manufacturing and service opportunities to make Quang Ninh the fourth leading province in terms of contributing to the national budget.
The PM also lauded the responsibility Sun Group has shown to its mother country and the community by investing in high-quality and important structures all across the country.
Van Don International Airport, Halong International Cruise Port, and Halong-Van Don Expressway are large-scale and modern constructions invested in the PPP format with investment capital mobilised from the private sector – a milestone for Quang Ninh province's economic development strategy.
Situated in Doan Ket commune, Van Don district in Quang Ninh, Van Don International Airport was developed to the tune of VND7.463 trillion ($324.500 million) in total investment capital, of which VND734 billion ($32 million) came from the provincial budget for land and mine clearance, while Sun Group contributed VND6.729 trillion ($292.6 million). In doing so, this is the first international airport in Vietnam to be developed by a private Vietnamese corporation.
Completed after more than two years of construction, the airport was designed in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) 4E standards and is a level-II military airport.
The airport comes equipped with six aircraft parking stands, four jet bridges, and is capable of receiving large aircrafts including Boeing 787, 777, and Airbus A350, A320 models. By 2020, the airport will have a capacity of 2.5 million passengers and 10,000 tonnes of cargo per year.
Sun Group has also ensured that Van Don International Airport features the very latest in modern equipment, designed by the world's leading brands in airport design, promising passengers a world-class experience. For example, the system of LED airfield ground lighting, originating from Belgium, meets CAT II standard, ensuring that the power supply meets ICAO standards.
“It is the most modern airport in Vietnam, which will have a positive influence on passenger experience,” said Romy Berntsen, a project manager and expert from NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants) which oversaw the development of the airport. NACO has been operating in the area of airport development for 65 years, delivering solutions to more than 550 airports in more than 100 countries.
The aesthetic design of Van Don International Airport Terminal was inspired by the natural beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay, which lies 50 kilometres from the airport.
The design of the terminal building is imbued with the vibrant colours and natural beauty of Halong and Vietnam – its bright red and orange roof makes it appear like a traditional junk boat sailing across the emerald seas.
Inside the terminal, the interior also celebrates the natural beauty of Halong Bay with a striking visual décor. Passengers at the airport terminal will already feel as though they are already voyaging among the heavenly scenes of Halong Bay.
The opening of Van Don International Airport adds another international quality airport to Vietnam's aviation network. This is the second newly built airport in Vietnam since 1975 (after Phu Quoc Airport).
The project will also revive the commercial port of Van Don, enhance regional tourism and trade, and establish Quang Ninh as a centre of international tourism and a key national tourism destination in accordance with the Quang Ninh Tourism Development Master Plan to 2020, with vision to 2030.
On the same day, Sun Group also officially opened Halong International Cruise Port (Bai Chay, Halong, Quang Ninh) with a total investment capital of VND1.032 trillion ($44.97 million). The port is designed with two docks accommodating ships of up to 225,000 GRT (serving both ships at the same time) with the total capacity of 8,460 passengers (including passengers and crew).
This is the first specialised international port of Vietnam, erasing the big "bottleneck" in the cruise ship industry. In fact, the seaport system currently carries a dual role: receiving both passenger cruises and freight ships, therefore failing to attract domestic and international passenger cruises.
The three-storey passenger terminal covers a total of 13,500 square metres, and was designed by Bill Bensley, one of the globe’s most acclaimed architects.
The terminal features the quintessence of both Vietnamese and European culture and architecture, taking inspiration from the ancient town of Hoi An in Central Vietnam in its facade, while its sophisticated interior décor brings to mind an ocean cruiser from the 13th century with wooden poles and steel and wooden ceilings. The terminal wall features a unique design with 27 photo frames depicting nautical charts and old ships.
The arrival of the first port which exclusively welcomes international cruise ships marks a milestone and a new turning-point for the tourism industry in Quang Ninh, creating a new space for international co-operation and tourism development.
In order to connect the new airport and seaport, on December 30, Sun Group also launched the first phase of the Halong-Van Don Highway, developed with the total investment of VND11.857 trillion ($515.5 million). Halong-Van Don is an A-class highway with a top speed of 100kmph, two emergent stop lanes and four lanes, shortening the travel time from Halong to Van Don from 90 to about 50 minutes.
Along with the Halong-Haiphong Expressway, which officially came into operation on September, Halong-Van Don Highway will reduce the travel time from Hanoi to Van Don from five hours to two and a half, strengthening the ‘economic triangle’ of Hanoi-Haiphong-Quang Ninh, and boosting the socioeconomic development of Quang Ninh.
The opening of these three major transport projects, all at once, by Sun Group is not only an important historical milestone, but also a turning-point for the infrastructure development of Quang Ninh. This is also a strong motivation for Quang Ninh to continue attracting and mobilising other large investment resources, further promoting the sustainable development of the province.
The following are images of the opening ceremonies and the projects: