The Vietnamese air transport market appears poised for rapid growth this year as it continues to channel new domestic and international routes through its secondary airports, Vinh and Nha Trang. Vietnam Airlines launched service from Vinh to Vientiane, Laos, on January 12, making Vinh the fifth Vietnamese airport operating international services. Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang and Nha Trang Cam Ranh currently offer international routes.
They may be thousands of miles apart but the UK’s Manchester Airport and Vietnam’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport shared in the recent commissioning of brand-new control towers. The new 197-foot-tall tower at Manchester (the UK’s second tallest after Heathrow’s) was a birthday present for itself as it went operational at the end of June on the airport’s 75th anniversary. At the airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest city, the new tower rises nearly 230 feet. Construction began in December 2009, and the project cost more than $19 million (U.S.).
Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (VVTS) returned Runways 25R/07L to normal operation July 2, two months ahead of schedule, after a four-month closure for repairs. According to the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, the runway closure had significantly reduced the airport’s arrival acceptance rate, to 22 aircraft per hour from 32.
Vietnam is considering building an $8 billion airport outside southern Ho Chi Minh City to handle a growing number of foreign visitors, according to the state-owned Vietnam News Agency. The project, which would require approval from Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, would accommodate 80 to 100 million passengers annually, or 10 times more than the country’s current largest airport, Tan Son Nhat outside Ho Chi Minh City.