|Planes land at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City. The airport will be expanded to a capacity of 13 million passengers a year by 2017. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
HCM CITY (VNS) — HCM City's Tan Son Nhat Airport received its 25 millionth passenger of the year on Saturday, five years earlier than expected.
The airport, designed to serve 16 million domestic and 8-10 million international travellers a year, has already received 10.2 million international passengers this year.
It is expected to serve around 26.4 million people this year, including 16 million local passengers.
According to Dang Tuan Tu, director of the airport, it handles 527 flights daily and 560 during peak days in winter.
It expects the number to increase to 660-689 during the year-end season and Tet next February, worsening its overload.
The international terminal will be expanded by 2017 to a capacity of 13 million a year, with upgrades and expansion made to parking bays by next May to increase the number of aircraft from 41 to 46.
But Tu said even that would be inadequate since 50-55 aeroplanes park overnight at the airport every day. "Some aircraft are now parked in space belonging to the military."
He said to ease the congestion, the airport had asked the Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam to adjust flight schedules, increasing the number of flights at off-peak hours.
This year the airport would start hosting two more international airlines, but their flights would not land or take off during peak time, he said.
Increasing the number of night flights by domestic airlines would be another solution to ease the overload, he said.
Besides, the airport had started automatic check-in to lessen pressure on check-in counters.
It had asked the Ministry of Defence to formalise the parking arrangement to reduce the pressure on parking space, he said.
At the domestic terminal, taxi pick-up and drop zones would be separated, and by 2016 the multi-storey parking lot would be completed, he said.
Then the pick-up area would move to the parking lot, and a tunnel connecting the domestic terminal with it would be built, he added. — VNS