Transport ministry approves Con Dao airport upgrade

By Doan Loan   August 18, 2021 | 05:30 pm PT
Transport ministry approves Con Dao airport upgrade
An aircraft is about to land near Dam Trau Beach of Con Dao Island. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Duy
The Transport Ministry has approved an upgrade for the Con Dao Airport on the eponymous island to increase its capacity from 400,000 to two million passengers a year in 2030.

A decision allowing the upgrade was signed by Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The based on the proposal made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

The proposed upgrade would enable the airport located on the 16-island archipelago in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau to handle large jet aircraft and develop its tourism potential further.

Accordingly, the existing 1,830 meter long runway's width will be increased from 30 to 45 meters to receive large jets like A319neo and A320neo. At present, it can only handle ATR72 turboprop aircraft with a capacity of 72-78 passengers.

A parallel taxiway and three new taxiways to connect with the runway will be built to improve the airport capacity.

The upgrade will also include construction of a new apron for eight aircraft, a new air traffic control tower on the east side of the passenger terminal, a synchronous airport beacon system and a landing gear system to operate flights at night.

The Con Dao Airport was first built by the French in the 20th century and upgraded in 2003 for commercial use. At present, it is closed at night because it does not have a runway lighting system.

According to a previously approved plan, the airport was to serve 500,000 passengers a year by 2025. Currently, it operates with a designed capacity of 400,000 passengers a year.

In 2019, the island had welcomed 400,000 tourists, up 37 percent year-on-year. In 2020, despite the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of passengers handled by the airport was 447,750, an increase of 4.1 percent over 2019.

Vietnam Air Services Company, or VASCO, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, and the FLC’s Bamboo Airways are the only two carriers operating regular flights to the island at present.

Con Dao, famous for its beautiful beaches as well as a wartime prison, is a tourist destination whose popularity has risen in recent years. In the 2010-2016 period, the Con Dao Airport achieved an average growth rate of 22.7 percent per year.

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