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14/04/2018 - 09:13

The airport and the position of a destination

In a recent conversation, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Van Cao talked about the need and importance of the province's efforts to promote infrastructure investment, expanding the scope and scale of Phu Bai International Airport.

Passengers landing at Phu Bai International Airport. Photo: Duc Quang

"It is important to carry out work related to Phu Bai Airport soon," was the conclusion of Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The at the meeting with the province's leaders on the afternoon of March 21 in Hanoi (source: Thuathienhue.gov. vn).

Along with this conclusion, the head of the Ministry of Transport also requested the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to study the adjusted plan which was approved by the Prime Minister to direct the adjustments to the detailed plan of Phu Bai international airport and add some sustainable and long-term development categories into the plan.

These specifications are based on the importance of this international airport for the development of the region in general and Thua Thien Hue in particular.

Not all will be done immediately, but this information has brought a lot of buoyancy. Despite having been named an international airport by the end of August 2007 and becoming the fourth international airport in the country, Phu Bai is still a small local airport.

In September 2013, after the project of repairing the runways and passenger terminals was completed by the Vietnam Airports Corporation and put into operation, the airport had a service capacity of 1.5 million passengers per year. But in 2017, the number of passengers through the airport reached 1.75 million passengers (nearly half of visitors to Hue); the growth rate from 2014 to 2017 was 15% / year.

Though classified as an international airport, currently Phu Bai Airport serves only three airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific, operating their flights: Hanoi - Hue - Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City - Hue - Ho Chi Minh City flights, Hue - Da Lat, and Hue - Bangkok (not regular).

It is far from the scale, operation and professionalism of Suvarnabhumi International Airport - where passengers can book tickets from Hue with irregular flights. Perhaps Phu Bai is even smaller than some airports in other localities.

At present, the number of passengers passing through the port has exceeded the capacity of 250,000 people. This pressure will increase in the coming time. With the growth rate from 13-17% as forecasted in the period 2016-2020, by 2020, the number of passengers through the airport will reach 3-3.5 million, and by 2025, this number will be 6.5 to 7 million per year.

In addition, the number of tourists to Thua Thien Hue will increase in the coming time when there are more high-class resorts with golf courses and casino services in Chan May-Lang Co economic zone.

In a recent conversation, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee Nguyen Van Cao talked about the need and importance of the province's efforts to promote infrastructure investment, expanding the scope and scale of Phu Bai International Airport. Accordingly, Phu Bai airport could open more flights to Hue and from Hue to many domestic and international destinations, operated by different airlines.

These things will probably be done in the near future. Right now, I have envisioned a day when Phu Bai International Airport can welcome guests with a modern and professional security inspection system, rather than with a temporary mobilization of machines in case of necessity.

Of course by that time, Phu Bai will also become a dynamic airport with more takeoffs and landings operated by many airlines, and passengers will also have more options by air, in addition to travelling by road, rail and sea. Then, the position of a destination is definitely different.

On top of this news about Phu Bai airport, just recently the world-largest online travel website Tripadvisor has chosen Hue as one of the eight attractive destinations in Southeast Asia along with Hanoi, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.

By Minh Ha

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