The Van Don International Airport welcomes first international flight (Source: VNA)

Quang Ninh (VNA) – The Van Don International Airport in the northern Quang Ninh province – Vietnam’s first private airport – welcomed its first international flight on May 27 morning.

The charter flight, conducted by Donghai Airlines, departed from Bao’an airport in China’s Shenzhen city at 11:05 pm on May 26 and arrived in Van Don airport at 1:30 am on May 27. It departed Van Don on the return leg to the Chinese city at 3:00 am the same day.

Speaking at a ceremony to welcome the flight, Director of Van Don International Airport Pham Ngoc Sau said that the airport will create the best conditions for the operation of Donghai Airlines, and make efforts to promote Quang Ninh’s tourist attractions, such as Van Don and Ha Long Bay, to Shenzhen and the entire Chinese market.

The launch of the Van Don-Shenzhen air route marks the first step in the airport’s strategy to approach the international market, Sau stated, adding that in June, Van Don will see the open of more international routes such as the Van Don-Taiwan route operated by Bamboo Airways and the Van Don-Incheon (the Republic of Korea) route by Vietnam Airlines.

For the Chinese market, there will be air routes connecting Van Don with Hainan, Nanning, and Guangzhou in the time to come, he added.

The Van Don International Airport was officially put into operation in December 2018. Since the beginning of this year, the airport has served 664 flights with over 90,000 passengers on board.

It has become the first Vietnamese airport listed among the top five airports with the highest points for quality services in the first quarter of the year, according to a survey by the Airport Performance Measurement Programme.

The presence of the airport is expected to help Quang Ninh achieve its target of welcoming 15-16 million tourists, including 7 million foreigners, by 2020 and 30 million arrivals, including 15 million foreigners, by 2030.

Construction on Van Don International Airport started in 2015 on 288 ha in Doan Ket commune, Van Don district. It is the first airport in Vietnam to operate under the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.

The airport is expected to have an annual capacity of 2-2.5 million passengers by 2020, which will increase to 5 million by 2030.–VNA