Last update 2/18/2012 9:41:00 AM (GMT+7)

There are too many airports in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge – There are nine airports in the 14 provinces and cities in the central region, from Thanh Hoa to Binh Thuan. The localities, which still do not have airports, are seeking the permission to build airports.

The Dong Hoi airport in Quang Binh province
The north of the central region alone has three operational airports, including Vinh airport in Nghe An, Dong Hoi airport in Quang Binh and Phu Bai airport in Thua Thien-Hue. Meanwhile, the construction of the Thanh Hoa airport is starting in some days, and the Quang Tri provincial authorities have also released a decision to build an airport there. As such, in the region, Ha Tinh is the only province which still does not have airports.

Airports incurring heavy losses

Located between the Vinh and Phu Bai airports, just 200 kilometers far from each of the airports, the Dong Hoi airport was put into operation in 2008. The airport was invested by the Northern Airport Corporation which spent 212 billion dong.

There is a runway with the length of 2.4 kilometers and the width of 45 meters. The E1 taxiway has the length of 144.6 meters, and the E2 taxiway 144.5 meters. The parking lot for civil airports covers an area of 14,986 meters. Besides, there are also parking places for military aircrafts, covering an area of 8000 square meters.

Quang Binh’s people hope that the Dong Hoi airport would help the locality successfully develop the tourism program and attract travelers to the land of the famous National Park of Phong Nha-Ke Bang.

The Dong Hoi airport has been designed to be capable to receive 300 passengers at the same time in rush hour and serve 500,000 passengers a year. However, in fact, the airport now only serves five flights from Dong Hoi to HCM City and four flights from Dong Hoi to Hanoi.

The airport has served 142,000 passengers in total over the last four years, since the day it became operational, the number which is much lower than the capacity.

Trinh Hoai Duc, Deputy Director of the Dong Hoi Airport, said that Vietnam Airlines pays 3.8 million dong for every flight taking off. Meanwhile, the expenses to run the airport, including the pay to 45 terminal officers, the expenses on electricity and water, and machine depreciation are much higher.

“The expenses on electricity for one hour of serving aircrafts alone cost 1.5 million dong,” he said.

“Every year, we incur the loss of 55-60 billion dong,” he added.

After 30 years of leaving it idle, in 2004, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam CAAV decided to build the Chu Lai airport terminal, capitalized at 80 billion dong. Just one year later, the airport with the area of 3000 hectares and the runway of 305 meters officially became operational. The air route Chu Lai- HCM City has been opened, which was hoped to serve as the driving force for the economic development of the two provinces of Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.

The number of passengers has been increasing steadily year after year, but the airport still has been incurring loss. According to Dinh Tan Phuoc, Director of the Chu Lai airport, in the first years of operation, the airport incurred the loss of 9 billion dong, while the figure was 6.9 billion dong in 2010.

The problem is that only small size aircrafts, such as ATR 72 can land in the airport, while Boeing and Airbus cannot. Meanwhile, passengers do not like to fly with ATR72.

International or domestic airports?

The four airports in the central region are called “international airports”. However, only the Da Nang and Cam Ranh airports can develop international flights

The Phu Bai airport, for example, became an international airport in 2008, but it has not had any international commercial flight in the last three years. Nguyen Van Minh, Deputy Director of the Phu Bai airport said that some airlines from Singapore, South Korea and China once surveyed Phu Bai to considered the possibility of opening air routes to Hue City, but they have not returned,

The Chu Lai airport has also been serving domestic flights over the last four years.

Source: NLD