Deputy prime minister Hoang Trung Hai has approved the project to build a third terminal at Noi Bai International Airport 45 kilometres (28 miles) north of Hanoi, so it could handle 25 million passengers a year by 2020, up from 10 million passengers now, a government statement said.

The expansion of Noi Bai, which ranks behind Tan Son Nhat airport in HCM City, will be funded by the state budget, corporate funds and private equity depending on component projects, the statement issued late on Tuesday said.

Vietnam would need to invest another 43 trillion dong after 2020 to double Noi Bai's capacity to 50 million passengers a year from 2030.

Vietnam has forecast air passenger traffic to more than double to 32.4 million people by 2020 from nearly 15 million last year. It has been opening up the aviation sector to foreign investment since it joined the World Trade Organisation in January 2007.

Reuters - May 23, 2008