More airports in need to support aviation sector growth prospects
The aviation sector and airports have been instrumental in boosting the economic growth of localities as well as the country as a whole.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that by 2035, Vietnam’s aviation sector will serve 136 million passengers and contribute $23 billion to GDP.
Despite significant growth potential in the sector, Vietnam’s current airport network remains quite thin due to limited resources.
At present, the country has only 22 airports, of which 20 airports have been transformed into civilian airports from military airports. Only one airport has been built by a private sector investor, Van Don International Airport.
Van Don International Airport, the only airport built with private investment.
The quality of airports is also a concern. Many airports were built during wartime, resulting in a remarkable deterioration in quality and failing to meet development needs. Some have even undergone complete overhauls, such as Con Dao Airport.
Several geographically isolated areas with difficult travel conditions like the northwestern regions and the central highlands region do not yet have an airport. During this time, major airports like Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat and Danang were often overloaded.
Faced with increasing demands for air links between localities, and between Vietnam and the rest of the world, a review to improve the quality of the current airport system is important.
Apart from expanding investments to modernize existing airports which are facing overload, experts consider it necessary to expand the national airport network by complementing new and modern airports that meet international standards.
As the state budget remains limited, industry experts have expressed the need to diversify resources in airport development.
Nguyen Hong Thai, deputy director of the Faculty of Transportation Economics of Hanoi University of Transportation and Communications, assumed that the use of various resources to participate in the development of aviation infrastructure to create breakthroughs, stimulate the development, to gradually shape homogeneous transport infrastructures to facilitate inter- the regional link is proving to be a wise decision.
“It is more convenient to call on social capital in new airport projects because these are often included in the urban plan. Private investors can join the game, with the oversight role of the state, and from there determine the fee levels and the timing of fee collection,” Thai said.
In the short term, state functional bodies are examining to complete new airport projects in areas that are considered lowlands in transportation development, but have sufficient potential for tourism growth and visitor attraction .
This would encourage equity investors to join us and consider the efficiency of project investment. Before the pandemic, Vietnam’s aviation sector has continuously experienced an exceptional growth rate of 15.8% on average per year.
According to IATA, this is one of the fastest growth rates in the world, higher than the average growth rate in the Asia-Pacific region.
Vietnam’s air travel has seen a rebound this year, with many airports exceeding the operating capacity set at their passenger terminals, such as Con Dao, Cat Bi, Phu Quoc, Lien Khuong and Cam Ranh.
IATA rated Vietnam at the top of the list of 25 countries with the fastest local airport market rebound after the pandemic.