Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has settled on a French consulting firm's proposal for the expansion of the country's largest airport, according to the transport ministry.

ADPi's proposal, which aims to rescue Ho Chi Minh City's overloaded Tan Son Nhat, would see the airport enlarged to be able to handle 50 million passengers per year by 2025 without the need for a new runway.

To accomplish this, the French firm has proposed building a new 20-hectare (50-acre) terminal with a capacity of 20 million passengers to the south of the airport, next to the existing terminals.

The area to the north of the airport, including a controversial golf course, would be used to build supporting structures such as more cargo terminals and plane maintenance facilities, according to the plan.

Under the proposal, the expansion will cost more than VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion) excluding site clearance costs, ADPi said.

The company said work on the first phase to build a new terminal could start immediately and complete in two to three years. The second phase to build the new terminal and supporting structures requires site clearance and could take one to two years.

The government has tasked the transport ministry with coordinating with ADPi to adjust the airport's current planning and complete the firm's proposal. The ministry will also be responsible for raising funds for the project and completing the necessary paperwork so that construction of the new terminal can start as soon as possible.

ADPi is a French company that specializes in airport architecture and engineering and is a fully owned subsidiary of Aéroports de Paris Group. It has previously worked on airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul and Dubai.

In addition to ADPi's proposal, the transport ministry has also received proposals on the expansion from a local firm and from a group of advisors for Ho Chi Minh City, which instead suggested constructing a new terminal north of the runways.

Tan Son Nhat Airport currently handles 36 million passengers per year, which is way above its design capacity of 25 million. In addition to expanding the airport, Vietnam is also planning to build Long Thanh Airport in the neighboring province of Dong Nai to handle the 60-70 million passengers per year Ho Chi Minh City is expected to receive in 2025.

By Anh Duy & Hoang Thuy & Huu Cong - - March 29, 2018