One of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport’s runways will be closed for six months for repair. Vietnam plans to operate freight trains to China and Europe.

The CHC 25R/07L runway has deteriorated and is no longer safe for operation. In the past, the airport managers had to constantly deal with the cracks, subsidence and the runway surface that keeps peeling off. Water would pool up on the runway during and after rain.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, in order to ensure aviation safety, the runway will be closed starting from July 1 to December 31 as part of the first phase of plans to repair the runways at Tan Son Nhat Airport.

Pham Van Hai, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, said that they had asked the managers of Tan Son Nhat Airport to have a suitable construction plan to maintain normal operations at the airport and at other runways.

Noi Bai Flight Zone Operation Center also reported similar damage and deterioration at Noi Bai Airport’s runways. The runways are further damaged during hot temperatures.

The Ministry of Transport pointed out since 2017 that both of the airports were overloaded and received far larger planes while the infrastructure is out-dated. If the repair was not carried out, then all of the runways would have to be closed for repair and badly affected the country’s aviation sector as well as socio-economic development.

According to the plan, the runways at Noi Bai Airport would be repaired and taxiways, drainage system and other constructions will be upgraded. Tan Son Nhat Airport will also be repaired and upgraded. The repair project at both airports will each cost 2 trillion VND. The Ministry of Transport has selected contractors and consultants.

Meanwhile, Vietnam Railways Corporation plans to operate freight trains to China and onward to third countries such as Russia and others in Europe this year.

In its 2020 plans, the company seeks to step up utilization of international freight transport with plans to ship fruits and aquaculture products directly from southern provinces to China using refrigerated containers.

It promised to find ways to eliminate bottlenecks to increase the volume of goods transported along the Ha Noi-Dong Dang-Pingxiang-Nanning route to other Chinese destinations as well as to third countries with the goal of eventually exporting goods to Russia and Europe.

The plan was mooted since the company’s revenues are expected to be severely impacted by a sharp decline in passenger numbers this year and tracks in some places being closed to carry out infrastructure works.

It plans to reduce the number of trains since demand is down due to the COVID-19 pandemic but increase the number of halts by long-distance passenger trains and the number of north-south freight trains.

Vietnam Railways expects to suffer a net loss of  1.39 trillion VND (60 million USD) this year, half each from its operations and financial issues from previous years.

Source: Destination Review