Congested Saigon airport asks domestic airlines to park fleet elsewhere

By VnExpress   December 25, 2016 | 03:35 pm GMT+7
Congested Saigon airport asks domestic airlines to park fleet elsewhere
Airplanes parked at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Tarmac tension: Tan Son Nhat will give priority for overnight parking to night flights and international services.

Vietnam’s biggest international airport Tan Son Nhat is no longer able to handle all the pressure from the recent travel boom.

In what appears to be a stop-gap measure, the Ho Chi Minh City airport has asked Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jestar Pacific to move their aircraft for domestic services to Can Tho airport in the Mekong Delta and park them there overnight.

Other options include airports in Cam Ranh and Da Nang in the central region.

The apron at Tan Son Nhat can only accommodate 57 aircraft at a time, which means the airport is now overstretched by the increasing number of domestic and international flights.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, to meet the growing demand of the local market, airlines are expanding their fleets, adding flights and opening more routes, which together have put mounting pressure on Tan Son Nhat's tarmac space and ground services.

This can get worse in the next four years as domestic carriers all plan to expand further, said Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the administration.

According to media reports, forcing airlines to park elsewhere can increase operational costs and eventually lead to higher airfares.

Vietnam’s airline market is growing at the third fastest pace in Asia-Pacific and the country is grappling with an acute dearth of airport capacity.

Aviation authorities estimated that the number of passengers on domestic flights would soar 35 percent to 28 million this year, accounting for more than half of the total air travel in the country.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, low cost carriers Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air and the newly founded Vietstar are planning to expand their fleets to a total of 263 aircraft in the next four years. Vietstar has not even been licensed to fly yet.

Related news:

Ho Chi Minh City airport adds more night flights for holiday travel rush

Market boom spurs Vietnamese airline carriers to expand fleets at speed

Vietnam to upgrade overstretched airport in Ho Chi Minh City