Vietnam will begin construction of what will become its largest international airport this week, near its economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City.
Long Thanh Airport, 10 years in the planning, will cost $16 billion to build and is planned to open incrementally from 2025.
Once complete, it will feature a 4 kilometre runway and a terminal capable of attracting an initial 25 million passengers a year, rising to 100 million.
The existing Tan Son Nhat Airport, meanwhile, will be retained but focus on solely domestic flights.
“The construction of the airport is an important step to boost public investment and reduce the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy,” Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said in a statement.
The project was first muted in 2011 and was initially hoped to have opened by 2020, according to Viet Nam News.
The announcement came shortly before Vietnam suspended all inbound flights from COVID-19 ‘hotspots’ such as the UK and South Africa.
“The risk for the disease to penetrate and spread in Vietnam is very high, especially from people entering from infected countries,” the nation’s health ministry said in a statement.
While all traditional commercial inbound flights have been cancelled since March 2020, this new rules applies even to repatriation flights.