Vietnam Air Force cedes land to choked airports

By Doan Loan   September 24, 2016 | 09:24 pm PT
Vietnam Air Force cedes land to choked airports
Tan Son Nhat is expected to receive around 31 million passengers this year. Photo courtesy of Airports Corporation of Vietnam
The government approves plans to remove three air force units from major airports ceding runway space to commercial carriers.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed off on plans to remove three air force units from airports in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang City ceding much-needed runway space to commercial carriers.

The military has occupied and conducted training in portions of the country's main airports since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Overloading, particularly at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, moved the city to pursue land occupied by the Ministry of National Defense.

On Friday, Major General Hoang Viet Quang, the vice director of the Defense Ministry’s Department of Operations, said the country's biggest airport would soon have room to grow.

Air Force Regiment 917 moved from Tan Son Nhat to Bien Hoa Airport in the bordering province of Dong Nai in March. The regiment will again relocate to the new airport underway in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho when it opens in the second quarter of next year.

Vietnam is working to expand Tan Son Nhat to receive more than twice the passengers in the next 10 years as a rapid growth in traffic strains its overloaded facilities.

The city government is working to coordinate with the ministries of transport, defense and natural resources to expand Tan Son Nhat's cramped 21-hectare (52-acre) operation eastward into land vacated by the air force.

Major General Quang says the Ministry of Transport would assume control of the extra land by October.

The new 850-hectare (2,100-acre) Tan Son Nhat should be able to accommodate 50 million passengers, annually, by 2025—at present, it's designed for just 20 million.

The extra land can't come soon enough.

The airport saw over 26.5 million passengers last year, a figure that's expected to increase to around 31 million this year.

Meanwhile, in Hanoi, Air Force Regiment 921 will leave Noi Bai International Airport for a new base in the northern province of Yen Bai. Work on Yen Bai Airport began in July and is scheduled to finish in the second quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, Air Force Regiment 929 will leave Da Nang International Airport for Chu Lai Airport in the central province of Quang Nam. The new facilities should come into operation in the third quarter of 2019, if everything goes according to plan.

Vietnam's aviation market has boomed in recent years. An average of 650-750 flights come and go every day from airports addled by regular delays and cancellations.

Related news:

Vietnam to expand overburdened Tan Son Nhat Airport under new plan

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