Funding for airport repairs not available
Funding to repair and upgrade Vietnam’s two largest international airports – Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in HCMC – has been denied as they are not listed among the mid-term public investment projects.
A plane is about to land at the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi
Early this year, the Ministry of Transport proposed the Government add two upgrade projects for the airports’ severely deteriorated taxiways and aprons to a list of projects funded by the State budget for the 2016-2020 period and the Government’s mid- and long-term finances for the 2021-2025 period.
These projects cost an estimated VND4.152 trillion (around US$179 million).
The taxiways and aprons of the airports are being used well beyond their designed capacities. Meanwhile, local airlines are receiving scores of new-generation aircraft with high steam pressure and load capacity.
Consequently, their taxiways and aprons have quickly deteriorated over the past three years.
As the State-run Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) went public several years ago, the taxiways and aprons of many airports under its umbrella were excluded from its corporate value during the equitization process.
Instead, the Government controls these taxiways and aprons and allows ACV to manage and operate them. Since they are State properties, ACV is barred from repairing and upgrading these facilities with its own funding despite its handsome profits.
In response, the Ministry of Finance noted that a plan to divide funding for the upgrade and repair work into two phases is aligned with the laws on the State budget and public investment.
However, two projects for the renovation and upgrade of the taxiways and aprons of the two airports are not on the list of mid-term public investments, drawing from the State budget’s allocation to the Ministry of Transport.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment shared a similar view late last year. It added that the principles, criteria and allocation of investments from the State budget had yet to be finalized, so there were no grounds for considering the upgrade proposal.
Late last month, the Tan Son Nhat International Airport sought permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to suspend the operations of a seriously degraded runway at night for repairs to ensure the safety of travelers.
The airport stated that Runway 07L/25R has seen a growing number of cracks and deformations in its asphalt concrete layer. Skid marks and ruts are also clearly visible on the surface.
“The start of the runway has a large section where the asphalt concrete surface has subsided and been submerged by rain, creating a flight safety risk,” added the airport.
For the sake of operational safety, the airport sought the go-ahead from the country’s aviation regulator to carry out repair and maintenance work on the runway at night from February 27 to March 9. SGT
HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport is seeking permission from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to repair a severely downgraded runway at night.
The Ministry of Transport has proposed the Government allocate the State budget or allow airport operators to use its revenue to repair runways and taxiways in Hanoi and HCM City.