Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat airport awaits Tet rush

By Huu Cong   January 10, 2019 | 01:39 am PT
Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat airport awaits Tet rush
A crowd of people wait inside Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, during the Tet season on February 6, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Vietnam’s largest airport is bracing for an influx of passengers during Tet, the Lunar New Year, early next month.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport said it expects to handle 134,200 passengers a day between January 20 and February 19, some 17,500 more than the last Tet season early this year.

The two busiest days, February 2 and 10, will see respectively 900 and 890 planes flying into and out of the airport. February 2 would in fact see the highest number of flights ever in its history, according to the airport, which serves around 650 flights on a normal day.

Domestic airlines are set to increase the number of flights during the festival to meet the surging demand. Vietnam Airlines and budget carriers Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific plan to fly 2,000, 1,000 and 1,000 additional flights from and to the airport during the period.

To cope with the rush, more check-in booths will be added, shops in terminals will be closed to make room for passengers and extra personnel will be deployed inside and around the airport.

Projects for parking pay expansion, worth VND1.77 trillion ($76.3 million), will help the airport handle the increased number of flights during Tet. The airport has added eight more parking slots and is expected to add another 29 by Tet.

Tet peaks on February 5 this year and the government has declared a nine-day holiday from February 2 to 10.

Tan Son Nhat currently handles 36 million passengers a year, way above its designed capacity of 25 million, which has prompted the government to make expansion plans.

The Ministry of Transport has hired French consulting firm ADPi and some Vietnamese companies for the expansion, which will include building more runways, parking bays and terminals to increase the capacity to 43-45 million passengers in the next decade.

The government is also planning to build Long Thanh Airport in the neighboring province of Dong Nai to handle the 60-70 million passengers a year HCMC is expected to receive in 2025.

The country’s aviation industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. There were a record 106 million air passengers last year, a 12.9 percent increase from 2017.

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