Tardy elevator construction at Tan Son Nhat airport blamed on Covid-19

By Gia Minh   April 13, 2021 | 04:28 am PT
Construction of two elevators in Tan Son Nhat's parking lot has been delayed until May after the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the import of necessary equipment.

The TCP Vietnam Investment JSC, which operates the parking lot at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC's Tan Binh District, said elevator construction would start within this month for completion in the next.

This came in response to a request from the Department of Transport requiring TCP to complete elevator construction by the end of April after the company had missed the original deadline, set for mid-February on the occasion of the Lunar New Year.

TCP said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, equipment ordered from Thailand would not arrive until the month's end.

Last November, Tan Son Nhat, currently the largest airport in Vietnam, only designated one car lane for drop-off purposes, while two others would be used for pick-ups, and the last by taxis.

The changes mean all ride-hailing services have to access the third, fourth or fifth floors of the TCP parking lot to pick up customers. Ride-hailing drivers also have to pay the airport VND25,000 ($1.08) each time to scoop up clients, instead of the previous VND10,000.

It also means passengers have to carry their luggage to those floors. As there are currently only two elevators, many have had to use the stairs.

A man carries his luggage as he climbs the stairs at the parking lot of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, November 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh

A man carries his luggage up the stairs at the Tan Son Nhat parking lot to use ride-hailing services, November 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh.

On April 5, ride-hailing firm Be reached a franchise agreement with the airport to pick up customers at its international terminal, with Grab working on a similar deal.

Tan Son Nhat was designed to serve 25 million passengers per year by 2020, but since 2017, the airport had already served nearly 40 million per annum.

Such fast growth has placed huge pressure on the airport, which has suffered regular overload. Currently, vehicles accessing the airport premises are allowed to stop for now more than three minutes to pick up or drop off customers.

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