Vietnam scrambles to expand congested airport as traffic volumes rise

Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City needs a third terminal (Lưu Ly/CC BY 3.0)
Vietnamese prime minister Pham Minh Chinh has asked companies working on terminal three (T3) of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City to speed up preparations so work can begin in the third quarter of the year, news site VietnamPlus reports.

Pham spoke at the airport, where he urged officials from national and municipal bodies to work together to reduce congestion as air travel returns to its pre-pandemic levels.

The terminal is intended to handle domestic flights, thereby relieving pressure on terminal one, which is presently operating beyond its capacity.

In February, the prime minister also chivvied along those working on the $6.1bn Long Thanh Airport, which will eventually take over from Tan Son Nhat as Ho Chi Minh City’s main airport (see further reading).

The urgency reflects the fact that air travel to Vietnam is expected to increase 178% over the next 20 years.

Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh will supervise the terminal project, and the Ministry of National Defence has been ordered to complete site clearance by the end of July. The Ministry of Transport will supervise the construction process.

The T3 project was approved by the government in 2020, and was given an expected cost of $470m, to be funded by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam. Construction work is expected to take a little over three years.

Once operational, it will be able to serve up to 20 million passengers a year.

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