Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has approved a plan to build an airport in Sa Pa, a small, mountainous town that is located about 350km northwest of Hanoi, in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai.
Although a small town, Sa Pa has become a popular tourism location, with visitors attracted by the highland tribes who live in the area, iconic traditional rice paddies and natural forest treks in the surrounding mountains.
Dang Xuan Phong, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Lao Cai, estimated that 4.2 million tourists visited the province in 2018, an increase of 21% above 2017’s visitor count, and that 5 million visitors are expected in 2019.
Construction of the new Sa Pa Airport is scheduled to start in December and will be completed in 2021. The new airport is expected to cost $254 million USD, with $133 million USD paid by the national government, $39 million USD paid from the local government and $76 million USD paid from private sector sources.
The airport will be used for both civil and military purposes and will be located in Cam Con Commune, Bao Yen District.
The airports construction will be built following the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 4C Standards of comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer services.
|An Airbus a320 aircraft operated by Vietjet Air|
|An Airbus a321 aircraft operated by Vietnam Airlines|
The airport’s runaway of 2,400 meters long and 45 meters wide and can be extend to 3,050 meters in the future. The airport will be able to handle a maximum of nine Airbus A320, Airbus A321 or equivalent aircraft at one time.
The passenger terminal will be comprised of a single building that will have two levels for departures and arrivals. There will also be room to build another passenger terminal in the future if operations warrant expansion.
Airport cargo operations will also be carried out in the passenger terminal, but as with all aspects of the new airport, design plans allow for a dedicated cargo terminal to be built in the future if necessary.
In order to provide access to the airport for passengers and cargo operations, a six-lane road will be built that will connect the airport to the Noi Bai – Lao Cai Expressway.