Huaphan Airport Delays Leave Steel Frames Rusting
Some steel structures of the unfinished buildings at Nongkhang Airport which is under construction in Huaphan province are now noticeably rusty after construction works were suspended almost six months ago.
Indeed the new air strip is scheduled to be completed in December this year but the construction company responsible for the works reportedly has financial problems and has written to notify authorities that works have been suspended.
Deputy Director of the provincial Public Works Transport Department, Mr. Onphan Thongthida told Vientiane Times this week that it’s concerned that some of the structures which remain unfinished may corrode or deteriorate.
“We do not yet know when the construction of the landing field will be resumed,” he said.
However, construction of the airport may be continued with a new company if the old construction company cannot continue the works, he said.
Currently it has yet to find a new company to continue construction of the airfield but is looking to identify contractors capable of completing the works.
Construction of the Nongkhang Airport in Xamneua district, Huaphan province was initially undertaken by Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company (HAGL), and is currently around 30 percent complete.
Last year, the construction company submitted documents to the authorities explaining the circumstances that led to the delay.
The company said they needed more time than originally estimated to build the airport because the mountainous terrain meant that trucks were having problems transporting construction materials to the site.
The rainy season last year also put the project behind schedule when workers were forced to down tools for almost two months due to heavy downpours.
At that time, the construction company agreed to complete the project by June 2016, saying another six months was needed to finish the work but it was subsequently not completed.
Director of the provincial Planning and Investment Department, Mr. Phonxay Inthavong said that construction of this airport will be continued again in the future now that the Lao and Vietnamese governments are consulting to solve the problem.
The project was given the green light in June 2013 when the government, represented by the Department of Civil Aviation, signed a contract with the Vietnamese investors, Hoang AnhGia Lai, worth more than US$74 million.
When complete, the airport will be able to accommodate aircraft with 70 to 100 seats, such as the ATR72.
Currently, only helicopters and small planes land at the old airport in Huaphan, and occasionally there are charter flights by light aircraft capable of short landings.
When the longer runway is built ATR aircraft and other planes will be able to land there and the number of tourists travelling to the province is expected to increase.
According to a recent report by Vietnamnet, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL) confirmed it is negotiating with another Vietnamese company Thanh Thanh Cong (TTC) on the transfer of its sugar mill in southern Laos to TTC. It reported that HAGL has 6,000 hectares of sugarcane in Laos.
HAGL is also reportedly negotiating to sell half of its 40,000 hectares of rubber concessions in southern Laos, potentially to a Chinese investor.
Source: Vientiane Times