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Airport Authority Proposes $500m Upgrade for Con Dao Airport

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has recommended an upgrade for the airport in Con Dao, one of Vietnam's most popular attractions.

According to VnExpress, a proposal to lengthen the runway at Con Dao Airport was presented to the Ministry of Transport by CAAV which would enable the airport to handle larger aircraft, such as the Airbus A320 and A321. At present, the facility can only receive the twin-propeller ATR72, with a capacity of 78 passengers.

The Airport Design and Construction Consultancy Company (ADCC) was commissioned by CAAV to come up with a plan to extend the single runway from 1,830 meters to 2,400 meters long, and 45 meters wide. It also suggested that the airport should have an apron to fit at least eight Airbus A320s, in addition to a new terminal with a capacity of two million annual passengers.

The total estimated cost for this project is VND11.7 trillion (US$503.4 million), of which VND5.3 trillion would be spent on the runway extension, which would involve reclaiming land from the sea. If it is possible to source soil and rocks on the island for the project instead of shipping them from the mainland, the cost could be reduced to VND2 trillion, the newspaper explained.

Do Tat Binh, deputy CEO of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), said the expansion of Con Dao Airport is feasible, but not economical. He doubts that the reclaimed area could withstand the rough seas in the area. 

The airport was built during the French colonial era in the 20th century. It was upgraded in 2003 and began to operate commercially in 2004 with a capacity of up to 200 passengers at a time. 

A popular tourist attraction for its historic value and beaches, Con Dao Island welcomed more than 286,000 visitors last year, up 17.3% from 2017, according to VnExpress.

[Photo via Phu Quoc Island Guide

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