Vietnam's Van Don Airport works to boost its international links

By Phat Dat   March 10, 2019 | 05:00 am PT
The Van Don International Airport has signed a slew of agreements to promote its international connectivity and boost tourism.

The first private airport in the country, located in Quang Ninh, recently held a two-day conference that attracted more than 60 airlines and travel companies whose representatives also enjoyed fam trips around the northern province.

During the conference, the airport signed many cooperation agreements with international carriers as well as well-known travel agencies like Sky Angkor and DHT Aviation Inc, which is the Vietnamese representative of major airlines in East Asia, Hana Tours of South Korea, Viet Travel, and Smile Viet.

Several co-operation agreements were signed at the Van Don Airport promotion conference.

Several co-operation agreements were signed at the Van Don Airport promotion conference.

The agreements were facilitated by extensive negotiations, the fam trips and the quality of the airport’s facilities.

During a working visit to Cambodia by General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong late last month, Vietnam Airlines and Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism signed a tourism development agreement that runs through 2021.

Under this agreement, Vietnam Airlines will start flights between the city of Ha Long in Quang Ninh (Van Don Airport) and famous destinations in Cambodia including Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

A view of Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh.

A view of Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), Vo Huy Cuong, said this would be the first step for the aviation industry in implementing the Prime Minister’s Decision 105, dated January 22, 2019, on enhancing air connectivity with tourist markets.

"Van Don Airport will be connected by domestic flights to Vinh, Da Nang, HCMC, Quang Nam, Nha Trang, Can Tho, Da Lat, Hue, Quy Nhon, and Phu Quoc; and it will have international routes to China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore by 2025.

"These are decisive factors in the sustainable development of Van Don and tourism in Quang Ninh."

Representatives of airlines and travel agencies visit Van Don Airport.

Representatives of airlines and travel agencies visit Van Don Airport.

Van Don Airport recently announced a series of incentives to attract airlines and travel companies. They include reducing the rent on counters in its terminal and advertising tariffs.

Airport director Pham Ngoc Sau said they have issued policies to support airlines and charter flights, such as reducing taking-off and landing fees and cutting ground service costs by up to 70 per cent.

The cost of ground services for flights is normally around VND20 million ($860), but it has been reduced to just VND5-6 million, he said.

Dang Minh Truong, chairman of Sun Group, which owns the airport, said besides incentives for tourists (discount of 20-50 per cent on tickets to Sun World Halong Complex), Sun Group is committed to offering incentives to airlines and travel agencies when they begin tours to Quang Ninh.

He highlighted the group’s attractions in the area, including Sun World Halong Complex, Quang Hanh Hot Mineral Stream Resort, and Sun Premier Village Halong Bay."

Visit Sun World Halong Complex.

Visit Sun World Halong Complex.

CAAV executives and Quang Ninh leaders have discussed several measures to remove obstacles for travel agents and airlines in bringing passengers to the province through the airport.

For instance, Quang Ninh will call on local businesses to offer packages combining board and lodging with amusement when visiting Ha Long through the airport.

Cuong said the CAAV supported charter and stopover flights that will attract passengers to Vietnam through Van Don Airport.

It would also work with relevant ministries and sectors to assess the impacts and benefits of stopover flights that combine two or three destinations, he said.

Stopover flights are of particular interest to airlines and tour operators, because they are appropriate for tourists from East Asia, the biggest source of tourism revenue for Viet Nam.

Van Don Airport is a six-hour flight away from Japan, more than three hours from Singapore, three hours from Taiwan, and two hours from Hong Kong.

Experts say the airport has great potential thanks to the rapid development of Quang Ninh Province, attractive and reasonable policies and the aviation industry’s spirit of innovation.

In two months since it opened, Van Don Airport has received more than 15,000 passengers via Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways flights. It handles some 30 arrivals and departures a week.

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