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

By VnExpress   December 19, 2016 | 03:52 am PT
Ho Chi Minh City airport adds more night flights for holiday travel rush
Passengers wait in line to check in for departure at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters
Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam’s busiest airport, is already operating above its capacity.

Tan Son Nhat, the country’s busiest and biggest airport, will increase the number of night flights in the weeks leading to the Lunar New Year holiday in an attempt to ease congestion.

The Ho Chi Minh City airport is currently operating a total of 38 passenger flights per hour between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., leaving little room to squeeze in more flights, said aviation authorities.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, suggested carriers increase the number of night flights as the Lunar New Year travel rush is about to start in less than a month.

“If we can schedule a maximum of 38 night take-offs and landings between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.," Thanh said, "the airport will be able to handle the increased travel demand during the Tet holiday.” 

Aviation authorities are expecting domestic airliners to add more than 2,000 extra flights to their schedule during the holiday season.

Vietnam Airlines, the country’s biggest carrier, said the number of flights will be up 46 percent compared to last year's season, with an extra 900 flights added to serve more than 185,000 passengers.

Tan Son Nhat, designed to handle both domestic and international passengers, has become increasingly overstretched due to lack of air space, limited ground services and traffic congestion near the airport.

Dang Tuan Tu, the airport director, said it is expected to handle 31 million passengers this year, far beyond its maximum capacity of 25 million.

He said more night flights will be a solution for the worsening overload at the airport during the upcoming peak season.

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