An aircraft seen on a taxi way at the Dien Bien Airport in Dien Bien Province, northern Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/kid315.
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam has slashed the estimated cost of upgrades to Dien Bien Airport by half and capacity from two million passengers annually to 500,000.
The ACV, which manages 22 airports across the country, said in a proposal to the Ministry of Transport that it now plans to expand the terminal of the airport in Dien Bien Province, 500 kilometers to the west of Hanoi, from a capacity of 300,000 passengers to 500,000.
A new runway capable of receiving narrow-body aircraft such as the Airbus A321 and new aprons will also be built, with the cost estimated at VND1.54 trillion ($66.5 million).
This is 53 percent lower than its upgrade proposal at the end of last year, when it planned to build a terminal that could receive two million passengers a year. It said the two million figure exceeds demand.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on aviation is also factored into the new proposal, it said.
Dien Bien Airport, originally a military airport built in 1954, began commercial operations in 1994. It has one 1,830-meter runway that can handle short-haul ATR72 aircraft and smaller ones.
The airport served 81,800 passengers in 2014, but the number fell to 57,300 last year, according to the Commission for Management of State Capital at Enterprises.