This year is the first time that not only national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines but all other domestically held carriers have reported profits, Minister of Transport, Dinh La Thang was quoted by Vietnam Net online newspaper as saying.

The minister said that in 2013, the domestic aviation industry gained a growth rate of nearly 20 percent, a remarkable breakthrough for Vietnamese carriers. Less than one year ago there was still information being floated about flight halts of some airlines due to losses.

According to Minister Thang, in previously years, only Vietnam Airlines reported profits and others got losses. Vietnam Airlines, after a few years gaining profit of hundreds of billions of VND, its profit in recent years declined. Last year, Vietnam Airlines had to change its business plans several times due to difficulties.

Earlier this year, Air Mekong announced that they would halt flights from late February in order to restructure. In 2011, Trai Thien Air Cargo had its license revoked after only three years.

Indochina Airlines shut down just after one year of operation. Last year, Jestar Pacific Airlines found itself in a similar situation, reporting an accumulated loss of 2.47 trillion VND (117.6 million USD), a record high.

VietJetAir, which conducted its first commercial flight in December 2011, recently reported its profits and has plans for an IPO. Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines has planned to find an investment partner in the first quarter of next year to prepare for their own IPO.

Vietnam is now home to 22 airports, of which 21 are operational. At an online meeting, localities proposed more investment in airports.

Minister Thang also said that some airports are being exploited very well. He said more international routes to the Cai Cui Airport in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will be established.

Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines Duong Tri Thanh said Vietnam is among the countries with the fastest-growing aviation market worldwide, with a growth rate of 14.5 percent between 2001 and 2013, equal to 30 million passengers per year. From now until 2020, the growth rate is expected to be 10 percent annually.

Officials of Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Nai have urged speeding up construction of the Long Thanh International Airport because the Tan Son Nhat Airport was overloaded.

Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Hoang Quan cited estimations as saying that by 2015, Tan Son Nhat Airport will serve 13 million passengers but in 2013 it welcomed up to 20 million passengers.

Minister Thang said the ministry will submit the Long Thanh airport investment plan to the Government in May. Hopes are that the project will be started in 2015 or early 2016 and completed by 2020.-VNA