A South Korean company has expressed a desire to develop an airport in Quang Ninh province, while a Japanese investor is eyeing the Long Thanh airport project and US investors have arrived to seek investment opportunities.
Unable to develop airports with just state sourced money, Vietnam is seeking capital from private foreign investors. The information has driven the special attention from the international community to Vietnam, which has been developing the aviation infrastructure system with its own capital so far.
Vietnam plans to build five more airports by 2020 and upgrade the 21 existing airports in order to serve the socio-economic development. It is estimated that the works would cost 220 trillion dong, a huge capital sum which cannot arrange itself. Therefore, it has been trying to call for foreign private investment.
The Quang Ninh airport project announced in April 2012 needs roughly 250 million dollars in investment capital by 2030. The Quang Ninh provincial authorities then informed that two South Korean investors, namely the ROK Airport Corporation and Jionus Company showed the interests in the project.
When asked about the implementation of the project, a senior official of the provincial authorities said the South Korean investors were told to complete the works for the investment preparations and submit their plan to the provincial authorities in 2012. However, no reply has been received from the investors so far.
Meanwhile, Tadashi Okamura, Chair of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at the dialogue between Vietnamese and Japanese businesses held recently that Japanese enterprises are willing to cooperate with Vietnamese partners to develop the Long Thanh airport.
Besides South Korea, Japan and the US have been interested their desire to make investment in the airports in Vietnam for a long time. In 2010, the US ADC & HAS, specializing in developing airports, met the leaders of the Da Nang City to discuss the development of an airport in the city.
In 2011, the US group showed its interest in the Cam Ranh airport project. And in September 2012, it once again put forward the airport development under the mode of PPP (private public partnership) at the meetings with the leaders of the Ministry of Transport.
Le Manh Hung, General Director of the Vietnam Airport Corporation, has confirmed that Vietnam is considering different investment modes for airport development, including the PPP.
In the past, Vietnam tried to develop airports with its own money. However, with the increasing demand for infrastructure, Vietnam tends to diversify the investment capital sources.
Hung went on to say that the Ministry of Transport has set up an agency in charge of pushing up the investment projects under the mode of PPP.
US investors also highly appreciate the idea of developing airports under different investment modes. The US Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear has also affirmed that the US is actively working with the Vietnamese side to implement the plan to develop aviation infrastructure.
However, State’s officials have said that special regulations would be applied for the PPP investment mode in the airport development, which is also a special business field.
An official of the Quang Ninh provincial authorities said that the State would inject money and control key infrastructure items, while private investors would be able to exploit other items such as the terminals, port authorities’ houses and services.
Vietnam’s aviation industry has been witnessing a steady growth rate of 18 percent in 2006-2011.
A lot of projects have been carried out to serve the aviation industry development, including the T2 terminal at Noi Bai Airport, the project on upgrading Tan Son Nhat airport to be capable to serve 25 million passengers a year, the Phu Quoc international airport project in Kien Giang province which is expected to become operational in December.