Spanish airport builder Garuda Group is expected to pump US$15 billion (S$21 billion) into the construction of three world-class airports in Viet Nam, following an agreement signed in HCM City on Wednesday (January 20).
The airports will be the International HCM City-Long Thanh Airport, costing $6 billion, the new Ha Noi International Airport, $8 billion, and the Chu Lai International Airport in central Viet Nam with an investment capital of more than $1 billion.
The investments will make Garuda the biggest foreign investor in the country so far.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to undertake the Long Thanh airport feasibility study was signed by the company and the municipal People's Committee on January 20.
Long Thanh airport will be about 43km from the hub of HCM City. It is expected to generate 5,500 permanent jobs for Vietnamese workers after construction. Garuda group is an airport/seaport builder, manager and consulting company.
Giuliano Koenigsberg, chairman of the Aviation South East Asia, a branch of the Garuda Group, said yesterday the company would carry out the feasibility study and map out a master plan for Long Thanh project jointly with Viet Nam's Southern Aviation Corporation.
Last month, the Garuda Group also reached an MoU with the Airport Design Construction Consultancy to set up a joint venture to build the new Ha Noi International Airport, its biggest project in Viet Nam.
"It will be the largest and the most modern airport in Asia," Koenigsberg said. "It will be designed by multi-national companies from Spain and Italy to reflect (Vietnamese) culture and aspirations."
The foreign partners include Spanish Galo Architects and Italian AIG. The airport would have two heliports, a hospital, school, apartments and hotels. After completion it is expected to generate 10,000 permanent jobs.
"The (Vietnamese) government will grant Garuda management and operation rights for 30 years, to be extended by 10 years under certain circumstances, to cover the cost of project execution and to repay principle debts," Koenigsberg said.
Construction of the Ha Noi airport was expected to be carried out in three stages, the first from next year run until 2015 at a cost of $4 billion, the second from 2015-18 would cost $1.5 billion and the last phase would cost $2.5 billion.
Phase one would accommodate 480 flights a day and 35 million passengers a year. Capacity would grow to about 850 flights daily and 62 million passengers annually by 2025 and to 1,096 flights daily and 80 million passengers annually by 2035.
"The new airport is due to replace the overloaded Noi Bai International Airport, which will likely be relegated to domestic flights only," Koenigsberg said. "Noi Bai has reached its capacity at over 15 million passengers annually."
Last month, Garuda Group also agreed with the Middle Airport Corporation to establish a joint venture to build Chu Lai International Airport in the central province of Quang Nam.
It was expected that Chu Lai would be larger than neighbouring Da Nang Airport.
"Spanish enterprises are ready to come here and we see potential in trade and investment between Spain and Viet Nam," he said.
Chu Lai had an annual capacity of 2.25 million passengers and 1.5 million tonnes of cargo by 2015 and 4.1 million passengers and 5 million tonnes of cargo by 2025.
Koenigsberg said Chu Lai was chosen because it was an important gate to central Viet Nam and was near Dung Quat and Chu Lai economic zones, Hoi An and the seaports of Ky Ha and Lien Chieu.
The group set up an office in Ha Noi last year, providing consulting, investment and construction services for infrastructure projects, market surveys, trade and others.
The office will promote cooperative projects between Spain and Viet Nam. It also intends to set up an office in HCM City.