Long Thanh International Airport to Break Ground Next Week
The aviation industry in Vietnam is growing fast. With new startups in Vietnam like Vietravel Airlines, Bamboo Airlines, and VietJet Airlines emerging, airports in Vietnam can handle limited passengers. For example, Ho Chi Minh City’s main airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport, is designed to handle 25 million passengers. However, pre-pandemic in 2019, the airport carried 40.6 million passengers, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority in Vietnam.
The overcapacity at Tan Son Nhat International Airport has necessitated a new airport to be built. The solution to this will break ground on January 5, 2021, which is Long Thanh International Airport.
Plan For Long Thanh
In November 2020, the Vietnamese government approved the first phase of construction for Long Thanh International Airport. The $4.6 billion project includes the construction of a lotus-shaped 373,000 square meter terminal, a 4000-meter runway, and the construction of taxiways and aprons. $208 million will be spent on two roads connecting Long Thanh to the highways of Ho Chi Minh City. The facilities will be able to accommodate 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargo. The anticipated completion of the project would be late 2025.
Authorities from the Province of Dong Nai have handed over 1600 of the 1800 hectares required for the project. Additionally, the Airport Council of Vietnam (ACV) examined the site for any explosives like bombs, according to Vnexpress. With these measures in place, the airport will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony on January 5, 2021, according to the Minister of Transport, Nguyen Van The. After the groundbreaking ceremony, contractors will deliver materials to begin construction on the airport’s facilities like the fence and terminal.
Long Thanh International Airport will be constructed in three phases, Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 2 will allow the expansion of the airport to two runways and another terminal to reach a 50 million passenger capacity. Meanwhile, Phase 3 allows Long Thanh International Airport to handle 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo with four runways and four terminals.
When the first phase of the project is completed, Long Thanh International Airport will become the main international airport and cargo hub for Ho Chi Minh City. Tan Son Nhat International Airport would function as a domestic and low-cost carrier hub for Ho Chi Minh City. The relationship between these two airports is comparable to Bangkok’s Survarnambi and Don Mueang airports.
Due to its 40-kilometer distance from the city center, citizens will prefer Tan Son Nhat International Airport. In order to reduce travel time, a high-speed rail line will be built from the city center to Long Thanh International Airport
Future of Vietnam’s Aviation Industry
Tan Son Nhat International Airport will also be receiving an upgrade. It will receive a new $470 million terminal, in addition to its two terminals: T1 for domestic flights, T2 for international flights. The terminal is slated to begin construction in late 2021 and is scheduled for completion in 2023. It would add 20 million passengers in capacity to the airport. Overall in Vietnam, there will be $16 billion in investments to airports from 2020-2030.
Vietnam Airlines would be one of the largest users of Long Thanh International Airport. They would use the airport as an international gateway to Southeast Asia and Vietnam. Most international routes from Tan Son Nhat International Airport will transition to Long Thanh International Airport.
Pre COVID-19, Vietnam Airlines had flights to Frankfurt, London, Moscow and Paris in Europe, an extensive route network in Asia, and flights to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. In the future, Vietnam Airlines plans to launch flights to the United States, though it is unknown when they would launch flights.
Another airline that could be a predominant player at Long Thanh International Airport is Bamboo Airways. Bamboo Airways is an emerging player in the Vietnamese travel industry and will rival Vietnam Airlines internationally. The carrier planned to fly to Prague, Czech Republic; and Munich, Germany in Europe; and Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia pre-pandemic. Also, it plans to launch flights to North America in the future via its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s.
It is expected that the country’s main low-cost carrier, Vietjet, would stay at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Currently, Vietjet offers heavy competition against Vietnam Airlines, with an extensive domestic and Asian route network.