VietNamNet Bridge – Many experts think that Vietnam now has too many airports, while only three of them can make profit. However, the Ministry of Transport has affirmed that Vietnam needs to build more airports.
Over the last many years, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has continuously received the requests from local authorities to speed up the programming of the airport system, terminals and new air route development. It is obvious that airports are believed to play a very important role in the development of local economies.
In 2010, the national air flag carrier Vietnam Airlines opened a series of domestic air routes, even though it reportedly incurred the loss of 10 million dollars a year with the domestic flights.
Explaining this, Vietnam Airlines’ General Director Pham Ngoc Minh said that Vietnam Airlines had found a reasonable way which allows it to expand the domestic air routes, under which the air carrier would develop the air routes with the cooperation with local authorities and businesses. The three involved parties would share the financial burden in the first phase of operation in exploiting the market.
Minh affirmed that he can see the high potentials in the domestic aviation growth. International institutions believe that Vietnam has the second fastest aviation growth rate in the world in the next three years.
The leaders of Quang Nam and Nghe An provinces have also expressed their support to the cooperation among the three parties.
“We encourage officials to go on business by plan, spend billions of dong to carry passengers free of charge from the central area of the province to the airport, call on local businesses to give financial support to the advertisement of the new air routes to the locality,” a representative of Quang Nam province said about the cooperation.
The local authorities plan to spend at least three billion dong a year in the first two or three years of cooperation in order to share difficulties with Vietnam Airlines when developing a new air route.
Most recently, the Thanh Hoa provincial has suggested using the Sao Vang airport while waiting for a new modern airport to be built. Vietnam Airlines has sent its staff to survey the possibility of using Sao Vang airport to meet the requirements for economic development of the province.
Local authorities of Quang Ninh, An Giang, Kon Tum provinces and Phu Quoc islands have also expressed their willing to develop local airports soon.
Replying to the criticism that Vietnam has too many airports and a lot of them have not been fully used, Nguyen Thi Minh Ngoc, Head of the Planning and Investment Division of CAAV said that the investments in the aviation infrastructure have been coming in accordance with the airport system development strategy approved by the Prime Minister in 2009.
CAAV is now managing 21 airports, and under the strategy, five new airports will be built in the future, including Lao Cai, Quang Ninh, Long Thanh, Ca Mau and Vung Tau. Five other airports have also been named in the investment plan, namely Lai Chau, Kon Tum, Thanh Hoa, An Giang, Phan Thiet and Quang Tri
When asked why some airports are located near to each other, Deputy Head of CAAV Dinh Viet Thang said that Vietnam has great potentials to develop airports and that 26 airports is not a high number if compared with other regional countries.
“I have to explain that we build an airport in Vinh City, which is very near to Dong Hoi airport not to fly from Vinh to Dong Hoi which is just 200 kilometers far from each other. We need the airport in Vinh City to establish the air routes from Vinh to HCM City or to the Central Highlands,” he said.
“Stemming from such a viewpoint, I can say that the airport programming is reasonable, though we will open more air routes when we can see the demand on the market,” he continued.
It costs 3-4 trillion dong to build an airport, while a lot of airports have reportedly incurring loss because they only serve several flights per day. Therefore, experts still have doubts about the feasibility of airport projects. However, Thang has affirmed that the domestic market remains very big, and if airlines can exploit the market well, they will be able to increase the flight frequency.
Source: Giao thong van tai