Airport held up by land clearance

HAI PHONG  - The port city of Hai Phong plans to raise VND2 trillion (US$95.2 million) through a bond issue next year for key infrastructure projects, including an ongoing one to expand Cat Bi Airport.
The only thing holding up work at the moment is the refusal of five households to move out of the proposed construction site for the new runway.
Passenger traffic through Cat Bi Airport has grown by more than 38 per cent during the 2005-11 period to nearly one million passengers a year, the highest growth by any Vietnamese airport.
Do Tuan Anh, from the city's Bridges Project Management Board, said that the city would mobilize capital from different sources.
A total of more than VND3.66 trillion (US$173.4 million) will be used to lift Cat Bi Airport to international standards by the end of next year.
When work is completed, the airport should be able to handle two million passengers a year - or 800 passengers per hour.
Tuan Anh said that the airport project kicked off in March last year with VND900 billion ($42.9 million) for preliminary work, including building foundations.
Construction of the runway will begin by September this year.
"The biggest difficulty lies in land clearance," Tuan Anh said. Five households still refuse to remove to allow runways and an airport apron to be built.
Le Manh Hung, director general of the Airports Corporation of Viet Nam, an investor in the project, said clearance was supposed to have been completed by the middle of this month.
"If the problem is solved, the project could be completed by the end of next year as planned," he said.
Vice chairman of the municipal People's Committee Le Khac Nam said that local authorities had negotiated with the households many times.
"Local authorities will force them to move if they refuse," Nam said.
Funding for the project is drawn from auctions of land-usage rights, the city budget and other sources. The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam, the Ministry of Transport and ACC Airport Construction Company Ltd. are partners in the process. — VNS

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