Noi Bai Airport's expansion plan – which has been approved but is not yet underway – will more than double the number of passengers it can service by 2025 to address concerns of impending overcrowding.
The government and Ministry of Transportation (MoT) are working with airport authorities to hasten construction that includes a new runway and terminals, according to VnExpress. The plan, originally proposed in 2016, comes with an approximate price tag of US$2 billion for site clearance and US$3.5 billion for construction.
The airport currently has a capacity of only 25 million passengers and serviced 23 million last year. Demand for air travel is rising rapidly and the airport is predicted to see 35 million travelers by 2030. At a conference last fall, Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia cautioned that unless authorities act quickly on the plans, the airport will face the same challenges as Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat Airport, which is currently operating beyond capacity.
While the plan has been approved by the Prime Minister, concerns linger over costs associated with site clearance, which has not yet begun. The airport is currently set to expand to the south of the current structures, but if it proves too expensive to build there, it may have to look north to land currently used by the military.
Director of Planning and Investment Tran Duy Lam said, "In order to ensure we meet the country's development demands, the Aviation Department has recommended hiring foreign consultants to review the plans for Noi Bai International Airport. This will be the basis for us to present them to the Ministry of Transport for clearance and investment approval."
Noi Bai has already come a long way from being named one of the worst airports in Asia to being amongst the top 100 in the world in 2016. Its expansion would coincide with enlargements to Tan Son Nhat as well as the construction of Long Thanh Airport in Dong Nai: all signs of Vietnam’s expanding aviation needs and capabilities.