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After Long Thanh, 5 Provincial Cities Also Request International Airports

In the light of the Long Thanh Airport project, smaller provinces have proposed upgrades to and construction of more international airports in their areas as well.

VietnamNet reports that due to the rapidly growing number of tourists outside of major cities like Hanoi and Saigon, authorities in less-populated regions have recently expressed their desires to upgrade local airports to international facilities. Under their proposals, officials have explained that this would attract more investment and help promote Vietnam’s tourism.

The airports in question include Phu Cat Airport outside Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa Airport in Phu Yen Province, Da Lat's Lien Khuong Airport, Tho Xuan Airport in Thanh Hoa Province and Dong Hoi Airport in Quang Binh Province.

On the contrary, the news source shares, economists have been cautious when commenting on such projects. Some believe these airport upgrades would be a waste of money. High tourism figures will help improve provincial economy, but there are also other factors that need to be considered before deciding whether to build more international airports.

Nguyen Thien Tong, an aviation expert, explained the three major criteria for international airports. First, they must be located in the nation’s economic, political, cultural and tourism centers. Second, the localities must have high numbers of international travelers. And third, these airports must play important roles in regional economic, cultural and social development.

“If the existing domestic airports are really overloaded, the provinces just need to enlarge terminals and increase the number of aircraft parking slots, rather than upgrade them into international airports,” he told the news site.

Under current plans, Vietnam will have two more international airports by 2030, including Long Thanh. Currently, there are 22 commercial airports operating in the country, nine of which are international.

However, only Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports are profitable, while other airports struggle to reach expected revenue goals, especially those located in remote areas.

For example, the design capacity of Chu Lai Airport in Quang Nam Province is 500,000 visitors per year on paper, but in reality it only receives about 8% of that figure. Airports in provinces such as Phu Yen, Lam Dong, Ca Mau, Kien Giang and Dien Bien are dealing with similar issues.

[Photo: Da Lat's Lien Khuong Aiport/Real Times]


Related Articles:

Dong Nai to Begin Site Clearance for Long Thanh Airport Next Year

- Saigon Moves Ahead With Plans to Build 3rd Terminal for Tan Son Nhat

- Saigon Among Cities With Slowest Airport-to-City Transit in Asia: Report


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