Complete security screening at HCMC airport in 45 seconds: deputy minister

By Anh Duy   April 21, 2021 | 02:01 am PT
Complete security screening at HCMC airport in 45 seconds: deputy minister
Crowds of people are waiting for security screening at the Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, April 17, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
More staff and equipment must be deployed to ensure security checks at HCMC's Tan Son Nhat International Airport are completed in 45 seconds, says Deputy Transport Minister Le Anh Tuan.

Tuan issued this directive at a Tuesday meeting with Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and the airport's management board in Ho Chi Minh City.

He said the agencies must prepare to cope with the influx of air passengers and take steps to avoid congestion in the security screening area.

"The airport's security area must increase its maximum capacity and mobilize more employees to serve passengers to avoid overcrowding that recently happened in the area," Tuan said.

The domestic terminal at the country's largest airport has seen frequent overcrowding over the past week, forcing passengers to queue up for hours at the security screening area. Between April 14 and 19, the airport saw up to 80,000 passengers a day.

Tuan also asked the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to check the number of hourly flights at major airports as the passenger congestion was also triggered by carriers accumulating or canceling flights.

Passengers' medical declarations was another reason. Tuan agreed that security forces are not tasked with checking passengers' medical declaration as has been done so far. Instead, this should be the responsibility of the airline staff.

Nguyen Duc Hung, deputy general director of ACV, explained that the recent overcrowding at Tan Son Nhat was related to the limited capacity in the security screening area.

In the A and B lobbies, the airport is equipped to handle over 3,300 passengers an hour. However, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. last Saturday, the number of passengers waiting for security checks in the two lobbies was more than 5,100.

Another factor in the recent overcrowding was a policy to random check 10 percent of passengers. Dinh Viet Thang, head of CAAV, said the random checks were meant as an additional security and safety measure.

To resolve the issue, ACV has been operating the security screening system to their maximum capacity and moved five security scanners from the international terminal to the domestic terminal. Airport authorities have also adjusted the number of flights during the peak hours to reduce congestion at the airport.

The Tan Son Nhat airport has been serving 36 million passengers a year since 2017, well above its capacity. Construction of a third terminal will begin this October.

With Vietnam having contained its latest Covid-19 outbreak, domestic air travel has returned to normal. The latest outbreak occurred in late January, just a few weeks before the Lunar New Year holiday, forcing many people to cancel travel plans.

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