Thursday, July 29, 2010

Vietnam calls on international airlines to add three airports

VietNamNet Bridge – Southern Airports Corporation, airlines, travel firms and representatives from provincial authorities gathered on July 27 to discuss how to get more traffic to three newly-opened international airports.

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Phu Quoc Airport

Vietnam’s airport system includes airports in the north, south and central regions. The southern region now has eight airports, but only one– Tan Son Nhat –serves 20-25 million passengers a year. In the near future, the region will also have Long Thanh airport, which can receive 100 million passengers a year.

Meanwhile, three airports have the advantage of being located near tourist sites and will be developed into important airports. Now is the right time for Vietnam to call on air carriers to open air routes to these airports.

“There will be air routes to Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and northeastern Asia, and the strategic foundation is their advantageous position. They are located in key tourism centres,” noted Lai Xuan Thanh, Deputy Head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).

Phu Quoc Island is one, with Phu Quoc International Airport, which will be developed into a high-grade tourism and service centre and a regional financial zone. A casino will also be built on the island in the future.

Can Tho Airport, just seven kilometers Can Tho, will be the hub of the whole Mekong Delta.

Lien Khuong Airport is also considered advantageous for tourism, because it is located in Da Lat City, an area with cool weather all year-round.

Deputy Chairm of Lam Dong province’s People’s Committee Hoang Sy Son remarked that the province’s authorities are working with Vietnamese and Singaporean airlines on opening direct air routes on Lien Khuong-Singapore.

Vo Huy Cuong from CAAV revealed that the budget airline, Thai Air Asia, is also considering direct air routes from Lien Khuong to international fly points.

“These are all very important tourism destinations for Vietnam, so it is very important to develop international airports,” observed Nguyen Van Tuan, General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. “Aviation and tourism are considered as an airplane’s two wings and both are very important.”

Thanh from CAAV affirmed that they will create favourable conditions for airlines to open air routes. Fees on many kinds of services will be reduced by 50 percent, and the preferences will last up to three years.

* Lien Khuong airport was built in 1933. In 2009, the airport received 2.5 tourists, 10 percent of whom were foreign tourists. The airport plans to serve three million passengers in 2010. The total expenses spent on upgrading the airport is 300 billion dong.

* The construction of Phu Quoc airport started in November 2008, which is expected to become operational by 2012. The investment capital for the airport is 1100 billion dong now and the figure will be 8 trillion dong by 2020.

* The terminal of Can Tho international airport is being built which has the area of 20,700 square metre and investment capital of up to 1300 billion dong. The terminal is expected to be put into operation in December 2010.

Source: Tuoi tre, VnExpress

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