WHEN WILL THE NEW AIR­PORT BE READY?

The UB Post - - EDITORIAL - By T.BAYARBAT

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

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