The ground was broken for the construction of the VND6.9 trillion (US$306 million) Sapa Airport in Vietnam’s northwest mountainous province of Lao Cai on March 3.
The project, carried out under the public-private partnership (PPP) financing mechanism, covers a 371-hectare site in Bao Yen District, less than two hours from the tourist town Sapa.
The groundbreaking ceremony of Sapa Airport was held on March 3. Photo: Viet Huy
The Sapa Airport project is set to be executed in phases, the first of which began in 2021 with the construction of a 4C category airport (capable of accommodating narrow-body jets) according to the classification of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The airport is expected to have a handling capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year.
The second phase will start in 2028 to finalize other facilities and raise the airport’s capacity to three million passengers per year.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nguyen Trong Hai, vice chairman of the Lao Cai People's Committee, hailed the project as a breakthrough in transport infrastructure in the province and the mountainous regions of the north of Vietnam.
“Once completed, the airport is expected to boost socio-economic and tourism development in Lao Cai Province and the whole northwestern region,” Hai said.
The project is divided into two sub-components, including a site clearance project financed by the public investment fund and the airport construction under the PPP.
It is estimated the first phase would require VND4.18 trillion ($184 million), or 60% of total investment capital, and the remaining 40%, or VND2.76 trillion ($121.2 million), for the second phase.
The Government would contribute VND2.73 trillion ($120 million) in the project for site clearance, resettlement, and infrastructure construction, while another VND4.2 trillion ($184 million) would be mobilized by investors.
The Government expects the total construction time to be around 4 years and another 46 years to recover the investment capital.
Sapa, around 380 kilometers from the capital city of Hanoi, is one of Vietnam’s most famous tourist destinations and home to various ethnic minority groups.