Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City is to be expanded to have space for ten extra airplanes and Hanoi ’s Noi Bai also has plans to add more parking space for aircraft to meet an explosive demand for air travel.

According to the Southern Airports Corporation, the agency has submitted their plans to increase the capacity of Tan Son Nhat Airport to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).
Nguyen Nguyen Hung, the General Director of the Southern Airports Corporation, says that the current parking space for planes at Tan Son Nhat Airport is just enough to serve 20 million passengers a year, or 54,800 passengers a day. However during the traditional Tet holidays, Tan Son Nhat Airport has to receive up to and over 58,000 passengers a day.

Under the new plan, Tan Son Nhat’s present 42 parking bays will be increased to 52.

Meanwhile, Noi Bai airport now has 24 parking bays, receiving nearly 90 flights a day. Nevertheless, sometimes the airport becomes so overloaded that aircraft must queue up to take off or land, which leads to flight delays or even cancel.

However, those plans are only a temporary solution while waiting for the construction of Long Thanh Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai . The project is expected to begin in 2011 and its first phase is expected to be completed by 2015.

Over the next few years, the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific Airlines plan to increase their fleets to over 100 aircraft. These companies and hundreds of other overseas airlines face major problems with the country’s aviation sector. Moreover, two private airlines, Air Mekong and Blue Sky, are also about to join the domestic air market.

In 2009, Vietnam ’s airports handled over 26 million passengers and 445,800 tonnes of cargo, four times more than in 2000.

In the first seven months of this year, the number of passengers travelling by air was up by 33 percent over last year to 12 million, and the number of air passengers is forecast to increase by 35-40 percent this year alone.

Lai Xuan Thanh, the Deputy Head of CAAV said that his agency is working with carriers to formulate five- and ten-year development strategies to install extra aircraft bays.
Forty-five domestic and foreign airlines are currently operating up their 55 international air routes to and from Vietnam .

In the domestic market, Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific are servicing 40 routes in the country./.