HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam's rubberstamp National Assembly on Thursday approved the construction of a new international airport by 2025 to accommodate growing tourism to the communist-ruled country.
The assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution for the planned Long Thanh International Airport to be built just outside the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.
The government said in a statement that the new airport will relieve the load on Tan Son Nhat airport and will be built with the aim of becoming a regional hub for airlines.
The airport will eventually have the capacity to handle 100 million passengers and 5 million tons of cargo a year and will cost $16 billion. Its first phase will handle 25 million passengers a year and be completed by 2025.
The cost will be financed from the state budget and from selling shares in state-owned aviation companies, as well as development aid and other sources, the government said.
The capacity of Tan Son Nhat is 18 million passengers a year, and the government says 22 million used the airport last year. Expanding the airport is not considered feasible, although some aviation experts argue that can be done by taking back a golf course which lies adjacent to the airport.
The government says once Long Thanh becomes operational, it will handle mostly international flights while Tan Son Nhat will be used for most domestic flights and some international flights.
This story has been corrected to show that Tan Son Nhat's annual capacity is 18 million passengers, not 20 million.