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Local authorities seek permission to build international airports

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Nearly all provinces believe that there should be international airports in their localities to serve the increasingly high number of travelers, help attract investment, and develop tourism.

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Provinces want to have international airports in their localities


According to Nguyen Thien Tong, an aviation expert, authorities of some provinces have recently proposed to upgrade local airports into international airports. 

The Ministry of Transport has agreed on the upgrade in principle, but reminded them that under the air transport development strategy approved by the government, the airports of Tho Xuan, Dong Hoi, Tuy Hoa, Phu Cat and Lien Khuong will still be domestic airports until 2020.

Also under the strategy, Vietnam would have two more international airports by 2030, one of them is Long Thanh.

The provinces seeking permission to upgrade domestic airports into international ones include Binh Dinh (Phu Cat airport), Phu Yen (Tuy Hoa Airport) and Lam Dong (Lien Khuong Airport). Prior to that, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh provincial authorities also asked for permission to upgrade Tho Xuan and Dong Hoi Airports.

One of the reasons cited by the local authorities to explain their airport upgrading plans is the increasingly high number of travelers. In addition, developing airports will help lure more investment and promote tourism.

Phu Yen province’s chair Pham Dai Duong said the province needs to have a convenient transport system, especially air transport.

Lam Dong province’s deputy chair Pham S said upgrading Lien Khuong into an international airport is needed in the context of a higher number of travelers.

Meanwhile, the representative of Binh Dinh province said that the Phu Cat Airport in the locality has become overloaded and needs upgrading.

Economists are cautious when commenting about the proposals made by local authorities. The number of international travelers is an important factor to be considered before deciding whether to build international airports. 

It would be a big waste of money if provinces build international airports just to serve transients. 

Tong said there are three major criteria for international airports. First, the airports must be located in the nation’s economic, political, cultural and tourism centers. Second, the localities have high numbers of international travelers. And third, the airports play important roles in the regional economic, cultural and social development.

“If the existing domestic airports are really overloaded, the provinces just need to enlarge terminals and increase the numbers of aircraft parking slots, rather than upgrade them into international airports,” Tong commented.

“If the number of international travelers taking direct flights is not high and air carriers don’t open direct air routes as they cannot see financial benefits from this, it would be better not to upgrade existing airports into international airports,” he said.


Source: VietNamNet

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