Vietnam's largest airport expects Tet numbers to exceed pre-pandemic levels

By Gia Minh   December 19, 2022 | 06:41 pm PT
Vietnam's largest airport expects Tet numbers to exceed pre-pandemic levels
People get in line for customs check at Tan Son Nhat airport as they leave HCMC for their hometown for Tet, January 27, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport is expecting 10% more travelers this Tet than it did in 2019 before the pandemic began.

Vietnam's largest airport is expected to receive 130,000 passengers a day during the Lunar New Year holiday, said Tan Son Nhat deputy director Nguyen Tam Tien. That's some 3.8 million travelers over the period.

Some 90,000 of the passengers are expected to be domestic travelers, a number 15-20% higher than 2019's festival season, when the Covid-19 pandemic had yet to cancel nearly all travel for almost two years.

Tien said the forecast had been made based on the number of tickets airlines have already sold for Tet.

The airport will be most crowded on two specific days, according to Tien.

January 20, one day before the final day of the old lunar year, will see 123,000 passengers passing through Tan Son Nhat's terminals, while January 29, the eighth day of the new lunar year which is also a Sunday before most people come back to work and school, will see terminals crowded with more than 144,000 passengers.

Given the high demand during the holiday, the airport will increase it's capacity to 44 flights per hour between January 6 and February 5, the highest number of flights per hour ever scheduled at the airport.

The Government Office announced last month that this year's official national holiday will take place for a week between January 20 and 26. The Year of the Cat begins January 22.

Tan Son Nhat is the busiest airport in Vietnam. At near-capacity, the airport handles 840-850 flights and 130,000 passengers a day.

But the old airport has been overworked for years. Cracks can be seen in airport buildings as well as on the Tan Son Nhat tarmac.

The southern hub's airport has been serving 36 million passengers a year since 2017, compared to its designed capacity of 25 million a year by 2020.

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