WHEN WILL THE NEW AIRPORT BE READY?
The Government of Mongolia started talking about opening a new international airport to connect Asia, Europe, and North America in 2006, and carried out feasibility studies for an airport project and signed a 40-year soft loan agreement with Japan that year. The airport project is headed by Mitsubishi-Chiyoda. The joint venture of Chiyoda Corporation, a large Japanese engineering company specializing in industrial facilities, and Mitsubishi Group, a group of autonomous Japanese multinational companies in a variety of industries, was formed to complete the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport.
Tenders for the construction of the new airport were announced in 2012, and construction began in 2013.
Despite the airport being built with Japanese financing, standards, quality, and management, Mongolia is responsible for carrying out some of the airport's construction projects. However, some Mongolian state officials have not owned up to their responsibilities due to financial challenges.
Everything for the airport involving the Japanese side has been done, but many things concerning the Mongolian side have been delayed.
State officials and the airport's project director, B.Enkhbat, said that the official operations of the new airport would begin in May 2017, but when Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold visited the site of the new airport to review its progress, the project director said that some construction work had been stopped due to a lack of financing. Project organizers say people are working to complete construction as soon as possible, and that official operations of the new airport are expected to launch in May 2018.
B.Enkhbat has pointed out that the project was at 73 percent completion in March, and that it is not easy to reach 100 percent completion for a project within a year.
The construction of a nearly 30-kilometer highway connecting the airport to Ulaanbaatar will be built soon with Chinese soft loan financing. Three different facilities for administration offices, cargo, and service and equipment storage have not been built yet.
When B.Enkhbat was asked why the construc- tion of three buildings had been delayed, he said that the budget for construction had been included in the state budget for three years, but a company that lost the tender bid filed a lawsuit against the company that was selected, leading to a work delay.
The airport project team has worked with four different governments and five different ministers in charge of roads and transportation. The Ministry of Roads and Transportation Development, Ministry of Finance, and Customs General Administration each have a great responsibility to help the team complete the project quickly.
Power transmission lines from the Songino-Tuul hydroelectic power plant to the airport have already been installed, but the power plant's construction has been delayed because of its own financial challenges. The airport was designed with plans for the SonginoTuul plant to be its main source of power.
The Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office (UMO) is in charge of the financing of the power plant, which is reportedly at nearly 90 percent completion, but the UMO says that the project has gone over budget and lacks additional financing.
The new airport's completion has been delayed because we didn't do what we needed to do as partners in the project. If we had concentrated on completing the project quickly and efficiently, official operations of the new airport could have begun this month.
If there is no new highway, no power plant, and other critical facilities ready for the airport are nonoperational, no flights can take off, so state officials and the companies in charge of the remaining construction projects need to agree to work together to complete this project.
The new airport is a megaproject that will help us make money, so resolving its financial problems quickly should be a top priority for us.
We will start repaying the loan we took out to build the airport in 2018, so opening the airport as soon as possible is critical.
The new airport in Khushigt Valley