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Aviation Authorities Limit Number of Tet Flights Due to Overcrowding

Vietnam’s airports, especially Tan Son Nhat, are bursting at the seams due to Tet travel. 

In order to accommodate Vietnam’s growing travel demand during the Tet holiday, local airlines  including Vietnam Airlines and two budget services, Jetstar and VietJet  attempted to register 2,400 additional domestic flights for the period between January 16 and February 12, reports VnExpress.

However, the plan was recently shot down by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), which only greenlit 1,270 of the flights, an 8.5% increase from the normal number of flights. These will be shared between the three airlines, with Vietnam Airlines receiving 380 more flights, Jetstar picking up an additional 330 and VietJet taking another 560.

According to Ho Quoc Cuong, head of CAAV’s Air Transport Department, the reason behind the limit is Tan Son Nhat’s severe overcrowding.

“If the carriers have already sold tickets for their planned extra flights, they will have to reschedule and make alternative arrangements with customers, we will not intervene,” he told the news source.

Of the 1,270 extra trips, 1,065 will go through the Saigon-based airport, averaging out to 38 more flights on a daily basis. Cuong also shared that these extra flights are only permitted to take off at night, as airport facilities are already overloaded during the day.

Tan Son Nhat is Vietnam’s biggest and most crowded airport. Aviation authorities estimate that, in this upcoming holiday season, the facility will process up to 807 flights on its busiest day, a 11% year-on-year increase.

Apart from expediting the construction of Long Thanh International Airport, a newer, bigger airport to be built in Dong Nai, the government is also looking into various upgrades to boost Tan Son Nhat’s capacity.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the Saigon airport is getting a runway, two terminals and more aircraft aprons in the near future. These add-ons will allow the hub to handle 40-50 million travelers yearly, more than twice its current limit of 20 million.

The news outlet reports that local authorities approved the plan shortly after the Ministry of Defense agreed to move some of its activities elsewhere, freeing up much-needed airport real estate. CAAV also told the news source that Noi Bai and Da Nang International Airports are getting back some land from the military.

[Photo via Thanh Nien]

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