The operator of Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City has put into operation an expansion of the domestic terminal that can handle 5 million passengers a year, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam announced said on April 21.

The newly-constructed Departure Hall A, put in use on April 21, is the first phase of a project intended to upgrade and expand the entire domestic terminal, the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper cited the corporation as saying.

Spanning 2,140 square metres, the new section consists of check-in rows, luggage carousels, and offices. There are also four airport body scanners, six boarding gates, and six baggage-scanning systems.

Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air began using the new section on the same day. Jetstar Pacific operates 12 check-in rows in the area, and VietJet Air, 24.

The old section where these two carriers used to place their check-in rows will be renovated and is expected to be put back into use within the next four months.

In the second phase of the expansion project, the waiting area at the domestic terminal will be enlarged by 2,000 square metres while a 500-sq-m technical section will also be built.

Once completed, the upgraded domestic terminal will cover a 39,450-sq-m area and is capable of serving 4,500 passengers per hour during busy time. The expanded terminal will be able to handle 12 million passengers a year.

Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam’s largest airport, last year hit the milestone of welcoming the 20 millionth passenger, two years earlier than expected.

Forty-four airlines are offering domestic and international services to and from the airport.-VNA