Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has called for immediate plans to expand HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất Airport after inspecting its international terminal yesterday, saying it is too congested.
|Busy traffic at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng called for immediate plans to expand the airport after inspecting its international terminal. (Photo: VNA/VNS)|
He called for building an additional terminal, saying that when the first phase of the Long Thành International Airport opens in 2025, Tân Sơn Nhất will be handling 50 million passengers, double its current capacity, meaning ensuring smooth operations will be a massive challenge.
"Aeroplanes often have to wait between 15 minutes and half an hour for landing."
To ease the congestion, additional terminals and wider roads outside are needed, he said, and assigned the ministries of transport and defence to draw up plans for them.
He instructed the ministries to look for investors to carry out the project under public-private partnership or build-own-operate mode.
He promised to closely oversee the task, and urged the city administration to upgrade the streets leading to the airport. He instructed the ministries of planning and investment and finance to make financial plans for the work.
Lại Xuân Thanh, head of the Civil Aviation Authourity of Việt Nam, told Dũng at a meeting yesterday that Tân Sơn Nhất has only 51 parking bays while the need is for 80.
There are two runways, but only one can handle both take-offs and landings, meaning aircraft often have to wait to land or take off, he said.
Sometimes there is no room for parking, and aircraft have to park right on the tarmac, forcing incoming aircraft to keep circling, he said.
"Yesterday I came here from Hà Nội, and my aircraft had to wait for 35 minutes to land.”
The Ministry of Transport is working with Ministry of Defence to obtain 21 hectares of land to build an additional 50 parking bays and a runway, he said.
He too called for building a multi-function terminal and a road linking the airport with Cộng Hòa Street, which will ease the burden on Trường Sơn, the only street leading to the airport.
All this will increase Tân Sơn Nhất’s annual capacity to 40 million passengers, he added.
According to a survey by airport authorities, more than 50 per cent of cars and 90 per cent of motorbikes that take Trường Sơn are not headed for Tân Sơn Nhất.
Thanh said the airport handled roughly 16 million passengers in the first half, a 23 per cent increase year-on-year.
"It is estimated that the airport will receive roughly 32 million passengers this year while it is designed for only 25 million. The number will increase by 15 per cent annually, he said. “The congestion occurs in the air, terminals and street [outside].”
Bùi Xuân Cường, director of the HCM City Department of Transport, said a flyover will be built near the airport to help reduce congestion on Trường Sơn Street.
After visiting Tân Sơn Nhất, Dũng inspected the progress of a metro station being built beneath the Opera House on the Bến Thành - Suối Tiên line.
He also visited Cát Lái Port in District 2.