HCMC – Although the public-private partnership project has drawn support from the Ministry of Transport, the Sapa Airport in Lao Cai Province is expected to rack up losses in the first eight years due to its small scale and stiff competition from the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway.
The Government of Lao Cai Province has completed the prefeasibility study of the project, which is located in Cam Con Commune and Bao Yen District, and the document has been sent to the Government and relevant agencies for approval.
Of the total investment of some VND4.2 trillion, local authorities will contribute 28.5% or some VND1.2 trillion to reduce the pressure on the central budget that is struggling with several mammoth projects such as the Long Thanh International Airport and parts of the North-South Expressway.
The project is expected to cover 317 hectares and serve 1.5 million passengers a year, with one runway and a road system connecting with the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway. It will be used for both civil and military purposes.
The local government will use its money for the site clearance, to build roads and the air control tower, while the remaining capital at some VND3 trillion, which will be provided by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, will be used for the construction of runways and terminals.
Lao Cai Province estimates operating the project for 50 years, including four years for construction and 46 years for capital recovery.
However, the Ministry of Transport has advised the local government to come up with a solution to ensure the financial viability of the project. The project is forecast to incur losses in the first eight years due to its small scale and tough competition against the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway, which cuts the travel time from Hanoi City to Lao Cai to only four hours.
Besides this, the province has been asked to review capital contribution ratios to secure the feasibility of the project and the plan to increase its capacity to three million passengers per year from 2035.
By Lan Nhi