Northern mountainous province wants to have joint-use airport

By Anh Duy   December 4, 2022 | 08:45 pm PT
Northern mountainous province wants to have joint-use airport
Terraced rice fields in the northern Yen Bai Province. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Tan Tuan
Yen Bai Province in Vietnam's northern highlands has asked for permission to use its existing military airport for civil aviation also.

The airport is targeted to receive 800,000 to one million passengers per year, the province said in a recent proposal to the Ministry of Transport.

It suggested the ministry to add the airport development to the national airport planning in 2021-2030 and with a vision until 2050.

The Ministry of National Defense currently manages Yen Bai airport, which covers 279.5 hectares and has a 2,400-meter-long runway.

Yen Bai Province, which is famous for terraced rice fields, lies in the center of the northern midland and mountainous region and belongs to the economic corridor running along Kunming, the capital city and transportation hub of China's southern Yunnan Province, Vietnam's Lao Cai Province which home to the tourist town of Sa Pa, Hanoi, the northern port city of Hai Phong and Quang Ninh Province which is home to Ha Long Bay.

According to Yen Bai authorities, in order to effectively exploit the "rich and attractive tourism and cultural resources" of the province, it is necessary to develop transport infrastructure, including aviation.

The province plans to convert the airport under the public-private partnership format if approved.

When working with the province last month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) under the transport ministry said it is possible for Yen Bai military airport to also serve commercial flights.

In the near future when Sa Pa airport in Lao Cai is completed, it is necessary for Yen Bai and Sa Pa airports to coordinate in operation, said the CAAV.

Sa Pa airport, 95 km away from Yen Bai, is under construction in Bao Yen District, less than two hours from Sa Pa Town.

Vietnam currently has 22 civilian airports, and the ministry has planned to increase the number to 28 by 2030 and 31 by 2050, including 14 international airports.

According to the CAAV, the aviation sector served 23.3 million passengers in the first six months this year, up 74.2% against the same period last year and meeting 60% of the figure recorded in the first half of pre-pandemic 2019.

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