Airport planning: long-term strategy needed

VCN - In the past ten years, Vietnam's air transport market has developed strongly, maintaining a double-digit level with an average growth rate of 16.5%. However, to develop the national airport system, it is necessary to have overall planning of the transportation industry, contributing to general socio-economic development.

Need specific calculations

Vietnam has 22 airports, including nine international and 13 domestic airports with a total area of more than 12,400 hectares. This is an active contribution to the realization of socio-economic development goals, ensuring the national security and defense of the country in general and of each region in particular.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan said Vietnam was operating 22 airports, including nine international and 13 domestic units. However, there is no major airport in comparison to the region and the world, and some airports have actually been operated in excess of the forecast and designed capacity, such as: Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, and Phu Bai.

In 2019, Vietnam’s airports reached a capacity of more than 116 million passengers, equivalent to 121% of the design. However, arrivals were not evenly distributed, concentrating in three economic centers, including Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. The others had lower volumes than designed. Some airports even reached less than 20% of their designed capacity.

Many airport items have not been invested, upgraded or expanded due to overlapping legal documents, especially those related to land management and construction, or limited capital resources; airport capacity needs to be balanced to suit socio-economic development conditions.

According to Deputy Minister Le Anh Tuan, in 2021 - 2030, there will be 26 airports, including 13 international airports and 15 domestic airports with a total design capacity of about 654.5 million passengers per year. Compared to the period up to 2030, four additional airports will be added, including: Lai Chau, Na San, Cao Bang and the second airport for Hanoi (the location will be researched and specifically identified after 2040).

Therefore, investing in airports or developing a series of other interconnected transport patterns between airports requires specific calculations.

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Investing in airports or developing a series of other interconnected transport patterns between airports requires specific calculations. Source: Internet.

Synchronization in planning needed

Giving comments on the master plan on development of national airport and airport system in 2021 - 2030, with a vision to 2050, Phan Xuan Dung, Chairman of Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), said the national airport system development plan should be based on many factors, including: determining the needs of passengers, transport demand, and the scale and network of operating routes; and determining development plans for each airport as well as transshipment capacity. Aviation planning takes into account not only socio-economic efficiency, but also the compatibility between civil and military aviation, ensuring aviation security and national defense.

Tran Quang Chau, Chairman of the Vietnam Aviation Science and Technology Association, said it was necessary to have planning for two civil and military aviation systems, and then integrate them to clarify the two sub-systems and the sharing of airports. On this basis, the State uniformly manages both sub-systems and strictly regulates the military and civilian coordination. Thus, the State can systematically govern and use the air and ground space to ensure safety in economic activities and national security.

“Moreover, if there is no master plan for the development of the national airport system, there cannot be joint aviation operations. This is a big gap in the current Vietnam Civil Aviation law. The next consequence is that the land fund for the airport system development will be limited and passive to meet the development needs of Vietnam's aviation industry in the future,” said Chau.

By Xuan Thao/ Ha Thanh

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