Two northern provinces' demand for airports not convincing: experts

By Doan Loan   February 27, 2021 | 08:00 am GMT+7
Two northern provinces' demand for airports not convincing: experts
A construction worker walks on an upgraded runway as a plane takes off at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, December 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
Demand for flying to Ninh Binh and Ha Giang provinces is not high, and so building airports there would be a waste of resources, experts have warned.

Both have recently sought the inclusion of domestic airports for them to boost tourism and socio-economic development in the national aviation development plan from now until 2030.

Ninh Binh, 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Hanoi, has sought permission to build the airport either in Kim Son or Yen Khanh District, less than 35 kilometers from the Tam Coc caves, a very popular tourist destination.

Ha Giang wants the airport in Bac Quang District, 260 kilometers north of Hanoi, partly also for military use.

Nguyen Bach Tung, an airport design researcher, said Ninh Binh might have seen a rise in the number of visitors in recent years but demand for traveling from people in the province is not high.

Meanwhile, Tho Xuan airport in Thanh Hoa Province and Cat Bi airport in Hai Phong City are already designed to serve nearby provinces like Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, and Ha Nam.

With expressways available, traveling from these airports to Ninh Binh should not be an issue, Tung pointed out.

Besides, after 2030 Hanoi will get a second airport in its south, not far from Ninh Binh.

Ninh Binh is situated in the flight path between Hanoi and southern and central localities, and an airport here could lead to collisions in routes, Tung said.

Ha Giang does not get visitors all year round, only seasonally, and there is little local travel demand, he said.

And it lacks the hundreds of hectares of flat land required to build an airport, he said.

Another expert, who asked not to be named, said while Ninh Binh and Ha Giang are very popular destinations, tourists usually travel to a number of places in the northern mountains on a single trip since a road trip there is not difficult.

So the two provinces’ claim their tourism requires airports is not convincing, he said.

Tran Quang Chau, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Aviation Science and Technology, said planning for an airport in a province should factor in various criteria like size of economy, income per capita and economic development plans.

Ha Giang is among the poorest localities in Vietnam, and an airport might not be necessary yet.

The country has 22 airports, including eight in the north and north-central regions.

The master plan for airport development the Ministry of Transport is drafting envisages building five new airports, all in the north.

It is now in the process of collecting feedback from other government agencies and local administrations before submitting it to the government for approval.

 
 
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