Passengers get off a plane of budget carrier Vietjet Air. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Transport is preparing to open a new flight path connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The new flight path, approved by Prime Minsiter Nguyen Tan Dung late in 2015, aims to serve increasing air traffic on the country’s busiest route.

Chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam Lai Xuan Thanh said the new flight path would run parallel with the current route. The distance between the two flight paths would be about 30 kilometers, he said.

The route was designed to serve northbound flights from HCM City, while the current flight path would be used in the opposite direction, he said.

Statistics from the agency showed that the number of flights was rising 8-10 percent annually, and the north-south flight path accounted for 70 percent on air traffic in the country.

In the 1980s, there were only a few dozen domestic and international flights a day. Now, the number is up 1,250 flights each day.

Additionally, Vietnam is also a gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, where air traffic is forecast to see at three-fold increase by 2030.

The agency also said air traffic controllers working in Hanoi and HCM City had to deal with an average of 30-35 flights per hour. Such a high frequency poses risks to flight safety, especially during bad weather conditions.

“Now is the time to make a change and open a new flight path”, Thanh said.

The long-awaited decision would also shorten travel times and save on fuel costs for airlines operating on the route, he said.-VNA