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Return to Caesar

The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Jun 12,2017,21:56 (GMT+7)
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Return to Caesar

The Saigon Times Daily

The picture of aviation at Tan Son Nhat International Airport shows a stark contrast. While authorities have repeatedly complained about congestion inside and outside the nation’s busiest airport, as well as in the sky, a vast area of land of the airport has been developed into a golf course, where a privileged few can access. And this contrast is feared to stay long despite outcries from all walks of life.

For years, voters in meetings with National Assembly (NA) deputies have posed the sharp-tongued question why the 36-hole golf course, covering over 150 hectares, is allowed in the airport zone, stonewalling any expansion plan for the airport, but no agreeable answer has been given.

At an NA session in Hanoi last Thursday, the topic resurfaced, with numerous deputies pressing the Transport Ministry for a reasonable answer but to no avail. Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia said the northward expansion of the airport is unviable due to concerns of high compensation cost and noise pollution. Such points can be easily seen as fallacies simply because noise at this airport still exists with or without expansion, while compensation is out of question since the land is being managed by the military and has been leased to a private firm.

The minister remarked that under the current expansion project, a new terminal is being built, alongside enlarging the parking space for airplanes to increase the airport capacity to 40-43 million passengers a year. Even so, the upgraded airport will still become overloaded by 2022, so the only option is to quickly proceed with the project to build Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai Province.

In fact, there are those people who may never want to return the land to the civil aviation sector. As covered in local media, the vast land has been leased to a private company in Hanoi for a term of 50 years, and the investor has developed the golf course, a convention and wedding center, and other auxiliary facilities, while villas and condo buildings will also be springing up soon. Therefore, the term “unviable expansion scheme” is simply taken as an excuse.

Tan Son Nhat originally covered 3,600 hectares, three times the size of Changi airport in Singapore or Hong Kong airport, but its area has now shrunk to a mere 1,300 hectares, inclusive of the golf course area. Changi last year served 58.7 million passengers, while Hong Kong airport catered to 70.5 million. And no congestion is reported at these two airports though they have the same size as Tan Son Nhat.

Therefore, says NA deputy Truong Trong Nghia, the military should return that lot of land to the Government soon to ease congestion on one hand, and help spur national economic development on the other, since the military does not have any specific plan for utilizing the site for national defense purposes in the long term. The Long Thanh airport project should wait as the country is facing a severe shortage of capital for development.

The sharp contrast in land use in this case can be likened to a poor family where the parents fail to make ends meet but their children still insist on having luxury items, despite the vision of indebtedness, hunger or even starvation in the days ahead. It is therefore imperative that the golf course site at the airport be returned to civil aviation.

 

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Giấy phép Báo điện tử số: 321/GP-BTTT, cấp ngày 26/10/2007
Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Pham Huu Chuong
Managing Editors: Nguyen Van Thang, Huynh Cam Tung
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