The upgraded runway 1B and three taxiways at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi were put into operation on April 23, according to the Ministry of Transport (MoT).
With a total investment of VND2.03 trillion (US$88 million) from the state budget, a large-scale project was launched last July to renovate the capital city’s airport, comprising work to upgrade two runways, 1A and 1B.
The runway 1A was reopened in January after being shut last October for repair, and the upgrade of the runway 1B has now been finished after one month.
The project also includes the construction of three new taxiways, upgrades of existing ones, installation of new indicator lighting along with a drainage system, and other flight management facilities. All workload has been completed.
Planes on runway 1B of Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport. Photo: Phan Cong
Such works, inaugurated ahead of the upcoming holidays of National Reunification Day (April 30) and International Labor Day (May 1), are expected to boost the airport's capacity in anticipation of the soaring travel demand. This time in 2021, the airport handled about 420 flights and nearly 64,000 passengers per day on average during the peak week.
Duong Viet Roan, Director of Thang Long Project Management Board under the MoT, the main investor of the project said that Noi Bai Airport has met the conditions to receive all modern aircraft in the world in all weather conditions, avoiding airport transfers in bad weather.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected the construction, contractors have tried their best and followed the approved plan. The quality of the project met the strict requirements of the aviation industry and the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” Roan said.
Besides, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has allowed Noi Bai to increase its flight frequency to 40 flights per hour in the daytime and 30 flights per hour at night between April 23 and 30 compared to just 23 flights per hour as usual.
Noi Bai is one of the two biggest airports in Vietnam which play an important role in boosting national socio-economic development and ensuring defense security.
Runway 1B had been seriously damaged after 16 years of operation while runway 1A is of better quality thanks to an upgrade six years ago.
The shuttle service between the domestic terminal of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)'s Tan Son Nhat Airport and parts of the city was launched this week.
Accordingly, vehicles of bus lines 152 and 72-1 to Tan Son Nhat Airport will be allowed to pick up and drop off passengers at the domestic terminal, instead of only at the international terminal as before.
Passengers can hop on and hop off buses along lane B of the domestic passenger terminal.
The move is intended to improve the airport transfers after numerous complaints from passengers about taxi scams and harassment, the municipal Department of Transport said.
The subsidized bus line No.152 connects the Trung Son Residential Area in Binh Chanh District and the airport while the non-subsidized line No.72-1 links the airport and the Vung Tau Coach Station in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
A bus of route No.152 at the domestic passenger terminal of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Photo: Manh Hung
The department blamed insufficient taxi service, the high taxi fare, and poor cooperation in regulating vehicles for the chaos at the airport’s passenger pickup and drop-off area.
Many passengers had to wait for hours for transfers, both by taxi and rideshare services, the department added.
On the upcoming Reunification Day and International Labor Day, the airport’s daily throughput is expected to rise to about 42,000 or even more passengers. As 15% of them may use taxi services, the airport has asked taxi firms to prepare more than 1,700 cabs.
According to the airport authorities, if the volume rises to more than 60,000 passengers per day, there would be a shortage of 1,100 cars, either of taxi or rideshare services. Therefore, the launch of the shuttle in the domestic passenger terminal will be another choice for transfer for passengers.
Tan Son Nhat, the country's largest airport, was designed to have an annual capacity of 25 million passengers by 2020, but by 2017 the number had exceeded 40 million.
Besides the shuttle buses, the HCMC Department of Transport asked the airport to reserve a part of lane C for taxicabs to pick up passengers.
The transport department also urged the airport to build footbridges and tunnels on the premises, as well as two additional elevators at its multi-story parking lot as soon as possible.
Deputy Director of the HCMC Transport Department Bui Hoa An called for joint responsibility between the department, police, and traffic inspectors to prevent traffic jams on the roads around the airport.
Tan Son Nhat Airport will also reopen its 25R/07L runway today [April 25] after two months of renovation work. The three kilometers long, 46 meters wide 25R/07L runway had been temporarily closed from February 21 for the upgrade work.
The number of passengers passing through the airport has steadily increased as Vietnam eased all Covid-19 restrictions for air travel.
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