New international airport almost ready for flight
Anew airport is under construction at Khushigt Valley in Sergelen soum of Tuv Province and is just a hair away from becoming operational, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.
Originally planned for launch in 2016 but repeatedly postponed, the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport is expected to start receiving air traffic next year and the construction work had already proceeded to 98.9 percent of completion as of December 18. This airport will replace and obtain the name of the current Chinggis Khaan International Airport.
The new airport is being constructed with a Japanese concessional loan with an annual interest rate of 0.1 percent for 40 years. The original loan sum is 49.5 billion JPY with a repayment period of 43 months, but with an additional agreement signed in March last year to lend another 5.9 billion JPY for the development work.
The State Commission detected 1,278 violations in its last review, but the executors say 93.9 percent of these violations have been settled.
A delegation led by Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh oversaw the project on December 18 and commended executors for building the airport in accordance with international standards. The airport is designed with a capacity to carry 1,500 passengers per hour and make it possible to accept eight airplanes simultaneously.
HOW WAS THE LOAN SPENT?
The new airport will consist of 32 facilities. It will have two runways, a road, rail terminal, control center, passenger service building, administration building, a parking lot for 825 vehicles, 42 megawatt power plant, 110 kilowatt electric substation, underground well, sewage system, wastewater treatment plant, aviation repair station, fire and rescue brigade, garage for 200 vehicles, cargo storage, underground filling station, container capable of carrying 8,000 tons of fuel, and a flood control channel.
The airport will have the largest underground engineering system in the country, measuring 1.5 kilometers in length. It will have two tunnels – one for hot and cold water, and another for wastewater.
The aviation control center is 38 meters in height and is resilient to earthquakes of up to magnitude nine. Meanwhile, the fire brigade has been fully equipped for any emergency. The largest terminal of the airport is nearly 54,000 square meters and capable of serving up to three million passengers a year. Director of the project team B.Enkhbat underlined that the airport will have Mongolia's “first and largest green facility” covering 75 hectares.
All that’s left to do now is to complete the construction of a hangar for aviation service companies, the project team said. The team said that it will spend around five billion MNT on the hangar as this amount was saved from the second round of investment.
B.Enkhbat told the prime minister, “The hangar will become operational in June next year. Its construction work is at 27 percent completion. We hope to purchase a steel framework for the hangar from China. We’ve already requested for customs’ exemption.”
PREMIER HOPES TO OPEN NEW AIRPORT BEFORE NAADAM 2019
One of the most important projects for the government is the New Ulaanbaatar International Airport Project as it will invigorate the tourism industry.
Japan wants to start a direct flight between Ulaanbaatar and Hokkaido, Turkey wants to start new flight services in Mongolia, and South Korea and China want to increase their flight frequencies. We’ve been missing out on these golden opportunities due to low passenger terminal capacity. This prompted the government to hasten the launch of the new airport.
The project must be beneficial to both Mongolia and Japan, as noted by Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh during his latest on-sight review of the airport.
“Collaborative business needs to be mutually beneficial. We must trust one another. Business is possible only with trust. The Japanese side has a very important role in ensuring normal operations of the new airport. We will continue to make sure the new international airport is profitable. We will need to sign a management agreement to ensure it is mutually beneficial. The Mongolian government is supporting and assisting the project in every possible way and will continue to do so,” he said.
The prime minister instructed the project team to make the new airport operational before next year’s National Naadam Festival set to open on July 11.
JAPANESE AMBASSADOR CALLS
FOR SPECIAL ATTENTION TO NEW AIRPORT
Japanese Ambassador to Mongolia Masato Takaoka noted, “The management agreement for the new airport will be finalized by the end of January 2019. I hope the Mongolian side can actively take part in the airport’s management. Nearly 40 facilities will be put into operation along with the new airport. The management agreement is very important for ensuring the internationally-approved airport can work at its full capacity. Safety is vital for the launch of the airport too. Ensuring safety will make it possible to provide reliable services.”
Before the airport becomes operational, restaurants and specialized agencies need to be moved and human resources trained, said Ambassador Takaoka before requesting the Mongolian government to pay special attention to these matters.
As agreed, the Mongolian side will take 49 percent of the airport’s total profit and the rest will go to the Japanese side. The concessional loan will be repaid in the first 15 years after the commission and the ownership of the airport will be transferred to Mongolia.
The Mongolian side is in charge of building the administration center, aerodrome repair services, and freight services. According to the team, the administration center has already been opened while the construction of the other two facilities is at 92.5 percent of completion.
“Thirty billion MNT from the Civil Aviation Authority’s excess income will be transferred to the Mongolian side’s 49 percent stake before the end of the year. Within the first quarter of next year, the remaining 17.1 million USD will be transferred by our authority. We’ve started building the catering services building. As specified in the agreement, we’re working to open it in June next year,” said L.Byambasuren, head of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Next, L.Byambasuren reported on the elimination of violations found by the State Commission last year. Out of 1,278 detected violations, 1,209 have been removed. However, another 720 errors and defects were discovered later in connection to commissioning activities. According to L.Byambasuren, only 64 of these errors haven’t been eliminated yet. He stressed that these deficiencies will not obstruct flight operations and said that test flights have been completed successfully.
A taskforce was assigned in October under the prime minister’s leadership to resolve all issues before the airport’s opening. The team assessed that there are 36 tasks left to complete and is currently working to finish them over the next three months, reported Minister of Roads and Transport Development Ya.Sodbaatar.
After overseeing operations, Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh ordered the taskforce and project team to speed up their work.
MINISTERS REPORT ON RELATED
Finance Minister Ch.Khurelbaatar: There will be no problem regarding the finances of the new airport project. It is expected to become operational in the first half of 2019. This will diversify the
economy, boost tourism, increase US dollar inflow to Mongolia, and liberate the civil aviation sector by attracting new companies.
All of the required funding for the project has been approved in the 2019 state budget. The Civil Aviation Authority has also projected essential funds from its own profit. The Ministry of Finance is fully supportive of this project.
Minister of Environment and Tourism N.Tserenbat: Mongolia will be able to accept three million tourists a year for the first time. The cornerstone of the Mongolian economy should be tourism. The foundation for this is aviation service. An airport capable of serving three million tourist a year is about to open and boost state revenue through tourism. Consequently, it will create more jobs.
Our ministry is discussing a financing of a total of 5.9 million MNT for the project, as well as opportunities to receive assistance from professional bodies.
Minister of Construction and Urban Development Kh.Badelkhan: In connection with the new airport project, an aero city will be established. The general action plan for the aero city has been approved. The government decided to expand the plan. Accordingly, we developed a general plan for a satellite city with assistance from other ministries and Ulaanbaatar Mayor’s Office. Right now, we’re gathering ideas and it will be discussed at the Cabinet session next week.
South Korea has agreed to provide funding for the feasibility study. We developed a general plan designed for 34,000 people to live in the satellite city. To purchase 12,000 hectares of land for the satellite city, we’re facing trouble for an area of 3,800 hectares. In particular, 114 entities are occupying this area. We're working with the Mayor of Tuv Province on the land eviction matter. This land problem will not be an issue for launching the new airport.
Minister of Energy Ts.Davaasuren: We don’t have experience supplying power to a special purpose facility. There are two problems regarding power supply. One of them is connecting the secondary power source – Songino substation – to the airport. It will be done through the city budget. The second problem is the installation of a renewable energy source, namely a solar power system.
We’re awaiting an assessment by professional bodies.
Minister of Roads and Transport Development Ya.Sodbaatar: We will hand over the works we’ve been put in charge of to the State Commission on time. There are four matters related to our ministry. The construction work of the aerodrome repair services, funded with the state budget, is at 87.3 percent completion, while 89.4 percent of the freight services building have been completed. We will commission them before the deadline.
We’re working to open a 32.2-kilometer-long highway with six lanes. Although the contract says it should be commissioned on July 1 next year, we’re planning to hand it over by June 1. Moreover, we’re trying to establish a consortium for the 51:49 management system.
Deputy Mayor of Ulaanbaatar P.Bayarkhuu: The required funds have been projected in the budget. There are two matter connected to the city authority. The capital spent 600 million MNT to develop a general plan for an aero city. The second matter is related to power supply. For installing two substations, the city approved 1.18 billion MNT for next year’s city budget.