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Nobody Likes Tan Son Nhat, Including the Civil Aviation Authority

Tan Son Nhat International Airport has struggled with its image for a while now. Thanks to a host of problems, from passenger overcrowding to flooding issues to regular airport vehicle collisions, the southern hub is not a fun place to fly by most accounts.

Now, apparently, even the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the country's watchdog of the skies, is losing its patience with Saigon's airport. According to Tuoi Tre, the CAAV recently released a quality assessment report on Tan Son Nhat, outlining the myriad issues which prompted Vietnam's Ministry of Transport to order the research in the first place.

After numerous passenger complaints and a less-than-stellar rating in this year's Guide to Sleeping in Airports, the CAAV's findings suggest there's a long way to go if Tan Son Nhat is to improve its image among local and international travelers. While many of the problems outlined in the report are old news, the highlights include overcrowded terminals –  the airport will serve 26 million passengers this year, exceeding its maximum capacity of 25 million – as well as poor Wi-Fi, less-than-desirable restroom conditions, overpriced food and beverages and noise pollution, which is what the report termed Tan Son Nhat's incessant loudspeaker announcements.

Beyond traveler experience, the airport also lacks adequate parking space for planes, the report continued, as well as chronic overloading troubles in the domestic terminal, which resulted in planes waiting during peak hours for taxi, takeoff and landing. Security and check-in areas were also too small to accommodate the airport's growing influx of passengers, and taxis and other vehicles cluttered the departure and arrival entrances, loitering beyond the three-minute parking limit.

While some of these issues – namely the flooding – are beyond Tan Son Nhat's control, CAAV officials were pretty unforgiving in their assessment. “Managers of Tan Son Nhat have failed to study and apply advanced management solutions used by other countries in the management and operation of the airport,” CAAV Deputy Chief Vo Huy Cuong told Tuoi Tre. “The airport also lacks a special force, as well as regulations and procedures, for quality assurance purposes.”

The way things are going, Long Thanh International Airport can't come soon enough.

[Photo via DHSaigon]

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