VND3,000 Bln Western Airport Remains Poor in Business

9:54:35 AM | 6/22/2022

The country has entered a recovery phase in all fields since early 2022. Therefore, there is a great demand for opening domestic and international flight routes to meet the increasing traveling demand.

During the peak of the summer holiday, many passengers are expressing their concerns over frequent delays and cancellations, which even take hours. Delays at Tan Son Nhat International Airport have caught headlines in recent days.


Passengers are obsessed with the long waiting at Tan Son Nhat International Airport

Overcrowded, congested airports

Tan Son Nhat International Airport is overcrowded because of frequently delayed flights and overfull passengers as they have to wait up to 8 hours but cannot go on board. Long delays, possibly even cancellations, are attributed to technical errors, broken servers, lines and bad weather. To support passengers, airport operators have enhanced security, supported scanning, and provided local check-in networks for airlines to serve passenger check-ins, luggage check-ins and take-offs to reduce long delays.


Passengers are waiting in long queues at a check-in counter

Besides, pressures are strong as most passengers in the Mekong Delta and the South are flocking to this airport because of the highest flight frequency, both domestic and international. However, “sold-out tickets” are still frequent due to the record number of passengers in recent years while local airports cannot meet the new demand since they only operate a few domestic flights. For example, Can Tho International Airport has a very large scale but passenger arrivals are much smaller than those in Cat Bi Airport in Hai Phong, Vinh Airport in Nghe An, Lien Khuong Airport in Lam Dong and cannot be compared with airports in tourist destinations such as Da Nang, Cam Ranh and Phu Quoc.

Without a doubt, the airport is yet to run at a full operational capacity and only focuses on serving domestic traveling. It has only two international flights, Taipei - Can Tho and Bangkok - Can Tho.

Still “stagnant”

According to the Can Tho City People's Committee, Can Tho International Airport was inaugurated in early 2011, designed to serve 3-5 million passengers a year. At that time, this was the country's fourth-largest international airport after Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, with a strategic location - a driving force for economic, cultural, social development and national security for Can Tho and the Mekong Delta.

The investment budget is more than VND3,000 billion, especially the passenger terminal of ​​20,750 square meters, the runway of 3,000 meters long, designed in the shape of a boat, an identity of the Southern region. Night lights are installed and the ILS instrument landing system is built to receive wide-body aircraft such as B777-300ER and B747-400 and equivalent to connect Can Tho with countries in the region and around the world.

Equipped with the "international airport" standard, why has Can Tho Airport not "taken off" but still stood still after many years of operation?

It has not worked at the class of an international airport. In 2021, it ran at about 10% of its design capacity. Although the ticket fare is reduced by 20%, flight routes to/from Can Tho have not managed to increase customers. Southwestern people still have to take a long journey to Ho Chi Minh City to go abroad. Relevant agencies are working to develop projects and reports to seek ways to revive this airport from very poor performance.


Still very few customers

Fearing that Can Tho flight routes would "die prematurely", the Ministry of Transport promptly requested the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to direct airlines to continue surveying and researching the market to open “new international/domestic” routes to/from Can Tho International Airport to effectively carry out the aviation - tourism connection in the Mekong Delta according to the Project “Strengthening the air connection with tourist source markets” approved by the Prime Minister in Decision No. 105/QD-TTg.

Accordingly, air service prices set by the government shall be applied for all international and domestic flights to/from Can Tho (regular and irregular), equal to 30% of the price bracket until the end of 2025 and to 70% from 2026 to the end of 2030. Vietnamese airlines are encouraged to have a “preferential price policy” on routes to/from Can Tho. Priority is considered to be given to confirmation of take-off time (slot) for flights to/from Can Tho International Airport.

The airline has actively worked with international airlines to expand their route networks to Vietnam, including Can Tho. Working around the clock will help this airport receive international flights in the nighttime. It will research and develop a project to increase flights to/from Can Tho International Airport and report it to the Ministry of Transport in June 2022.


There is a need to increase flights to/from Can Tho

In the coming time, Mekong Delta people hope that Can Tho International Airport will work more effectively to expand flight routes and diversify choices for passengers. The airport will raise service quality to higher class to increase customer satisfaction. This will help relieve pressures on neighboring airports, both avoid wasting investment and working as an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT as it is.

By Lan Anh, Vietnam Business Forum