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Runway upgrade begins at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City airports

Two runway upgrade projects at two major airports in Vietnam were initiated on Monday morning.

A ceremony was organized in Hanoi to mark the commencement of the two projects with the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh.

The project at Noi Bai International Airport in the capital, which costs VND2,031 billion (US$88 million), will focus on upgrading two runways, namely 11L/29R (1A) and 11R/29L (1B).

The 1A runway measures 3,200 meters long and 45 meters wide, while the 1B runway is 3,800 meters long and 45 meters wide.

The existing layer of asphalt along the runways will be scrapped off so that their concrete surface can be repaired, before a layer of reinforced concrete, at least 38cm thick, is added.

The project developer will also build three new taxiways and renovate nine existing taxiways at the airdrome.

The project will include the construction of an instrumental landing system (ILS) at the beginning of each runway.

The first phase of the project is expected to take six months, and the 1B runway will resume its operations ahead of the 2021 Lunar New Year.

The second phase will last one year and be finished prior to the 2022 Lunar New Year.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh shakes hands with a team of workers in charge of carrying out airport runway upgrade projects at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo: Tuan Phung / Tuoi Tre

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh shakes hands with a team of workers in charge of runway upgrade projects at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo: Tuan Phung / Tuoi Tre

Costing VND2,015 billion ($87 million), the project at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City will include the upgrade of the 25R/07L runway and the construction of three new taxiways.

The developer will build components for flight management, signal lights, signal paints, drainage systems, and other auxiliary works.

The first phase of the project will be carried out in six months, while the second phase will last for 14 months.

The upgrade projects are necessary as the runways of the two airports have been degraded over the past years, especially since 2017 when the two venues started receiving bigger aircraft such as the A350-900, B787-9 and B787-10, according to Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan.

The projects will make sure Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai reach their goals of welcoming 44 million and 50 million passengers per year, respectively, by 2025, Tuan added.

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346 Vietnamese citizens brought from US amid COVID-19 pandemic

A total of 346 Vietnamese citizens are brought home safe from the US on Thursday. — Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HÀ NỘI — A total of 346 Vietnamese citizens were brought home safely from the US on Thursday.

The flight was arranged by domestic agencies, the Vietnamese Embassy in the US, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, and US agencies.

Passengers were mostly children, pregnant women, students who face difficulties in accommodation and visa extension, and some businesspeople and experts.

To help citizens complete necessary procedures, the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington DC sent officials to Dulles airport.

Preventive measures were taken during the flight. After landing at Hà Nội’s Nội Bài International Airport, crew members and passengers had their body temperature checked and were quarantined as regulated.

Under the Prime Minister’s instruction, Vietnamese authorities and representative offices abroad will continue conducting more flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home, based on the citizens’ aspirations and quarantine capacity in localities.

Gifts to New York City

Customs procedures for two tonnes of Vietnamese-made antibacterial cloth and surgical facemasks, a gift from Hà Nội to New York City, have been completed to hand over to New York City, according to the Vietnamese Embassy in the US and Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

On behalf of the New York government and people, the New York City’s Commissioner for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena, on Thursday conveyed gratitude to the Hà Nội authorities and people, saying the move was very practical as New York City is still struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said that he hoped the gift of Hà Nội’s people will contribute a small part to help New Yorkers overcome the pandemic.

The ambassador also expected New York City and Hà Nội to have more opportunities for co-operation in the future, especially between businesses, to promote economic and social development and overcome the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. —


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Lives of foreign inmates in Vietnam prison

A prison in south-central Vietnam is helping foreign convicts prepare for a life of freedom, the Vietnam News Agency recently reported.

The Thu Duc (Z30D) prison in Binh Thuan Province is home to nearly 200 foreign prisoners from 21 different countries and territories, including eight inmates with unspecified nationality, according to Colonel Pham Thi Minh Hai, the prison’s deputy warden.

Nearly every aspect of prison life for foreign inmates, including living conditions, healthcare, assessment, emulation, and family visitation are governed by a set of Vietnamese laws similar to those regulating life for Vietnamese convicts.

The foreign prisoners at Z30D are housed in a set of barracks surrounded by trees and flowers. Each is cleaned daily, well lit, and equipped with a television and full range of essential personal items.

Other goods can be bought using money from the prion’s deposit service, which allows family and friends to directly transfer money to prisoners’ accounts.

Prisoners who were not able to receive money due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic are being financially supported by the prison.

John Nguyen, an American prisoner 19 years into his sentence, told the Vietnam News Agency that, all things considered, he has had a relatively good experience at Z30D thanks to its friendly environment and staff.

Nguyen’s sentiments were echoed by fellow inmate Nicholas Stars, a 42-year-old Nigerian national who has spent the last five years of his 15-year sentence studying Vietnamese.

“Overall, it’s very good,” he said. “I have ten more years, but I’ll try to finish sooner.”

A prisoner in Vietnam can have their prison sentence reduced if they maintain a good rehabilitation record, according to the current law on execution of criminal judgments.

Stars’ ability to spout fluent Vietnamese is not an anomaly amongst the foreigners at Z30D.

Those serving their jail terms are taught the Vietnamese language as well as the country’s culture and legal and civic systems.

Mohd Hafiz Gomez Bin Abdullah, a Malaysian male prisoner whose sentence has been reduced seven times since his conviction, shared that life in Z30D has transformed him from an unruly inmate to a man capable of making positive contributions to society.  

Part of the rehabilitation program at the prison involves vocational training, academic education, art, and sports. 

“I’ve won the top prizes in table tennis competitions many times at the camp,” said Li Chun Ying, a Chinese female inmate.

“I speak little Vietnamese, but I really want to thank the board of supervisors and officials because they’ve made me feel like family.”  

Preayamooch, a female inmate from Thailand, said that the living conditions at Z30D were nothing like she had imagined.

According to Preayamooch, foreigners are entitled to the same treatment as their Vietnamese counterparts and are even allowed heartier meals during the Lunar New Year and their home country’s National Day.

The prisoners are also given regular medical check-ups and can take a rest from penal labor when they are sick. 

So, how do Vietnam’s foreign inmates plan to spend their post-prison life? 

For some, like Preayamooch, freedom might mean making use of newfound skills to better both themselves and those around them.

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Transport minister wants to fix airport overloading

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has sent an urgent dispatch to order agencies to fix shortcomings in taking-off and landing slots for aeroplanes at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International Airports.

Transport minister wants to fix airport overloading hinh anh 1

Aeroplanes at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Planes currently have to queue for up to an hour to take off and fly around for dozens of minutes to wait to land as the two major airports have temporarily closed one runway each for repairs since June 29, he said.

The asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to evenly divide slots for taking off and landing at every time of day to fix the situation.

He also told relevant agencies to increase the number of flights at nearby airports such as Cat Bi and Thanh Hoa or Can Tho and Cam Ranh to reduce overloading on Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat.

The civil aviation authority was asked to strictly deal with airlines that failed to take off and land at their appointed times, he added.

The agency was told to work with relevant parties to notify passengers about their flight, check-in time and encourage passengers to book flights from and to nearby airports instead of Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports to reduce overloading and congestion, he said.

The slots for taking off and landing will be revoked if any airline is found to change the registered taking off and landing time, he said.

The projects to upgrade runways in Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City cost more than 4 trillion VND (171.5 million USD) and are expected to be completed by the end of 2021./.VNA


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