|Passengers alight at Can Tho International Airport. The number of flights and passengers to the airport was far below designed capacity, according to officials. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
CAN THO (VNS)— Leaders from the Southwestern Steering Committee, Ministry of Transport and Can Tho City's People's Committee suggested during a meeting held yesterday that more air routes from the Mekong Delta to the capital should be opened to aid economic development in the region.
Nguyen Phong Quang, head of the Southwestern Steering Committee, said Can Tho International Airport was able to accommodate large-scale aircraft and had the some of the most sophisticated aeronautical technology in the country.
However, he added that the airport had not been working to capacity since going into operation in 2010. The number of flights and passengers to the airport was far below what it had been designed to handle.
Last year, the airport received 238,000 passengers, much lower than the planned three million annually.
Dao Anh Dung, deputy head of Can Tho City's People's Committee, said that opening more routes between Can Tho and other cities would help promote tourism and trade between the Mekong Delta and local and international regions.
Dung said new routes would encourage more investors to the delta. He added that new air routes between Can Tho and Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Lien Khuong, Bangkok, Siem Riep, Phnom Penh, Taiwan and South Korea, would reduce travelling times and expenses dramatically, he said, and would avoid lengthy trips to HCM City.
Currently, the airport has routes from Can Tho to Ha Noi, Phu Quoc, Con Dao and Taipei.
A representative from Tawain-based EVA Air revealed that the air carrier had performed well on air routes between Taiwan and HCM City and Ha Noi. This had led it to consider opening more routes to Can Tho.
Tran Tri Cuong, deputy director of Da Nang City's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the opportunity had now "matured" and it was time to take advantage of the potential. He suggsted opening three flights a week - on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
At the meeting, participants signed a memorandum of understanding to open more flights to Can Tho. Deputy Minister of Transport Pham Quy Tieu said that local and international air carriers now had a red carpet to enter Can Tho.
He promised that the ministry would issue preferential policies to encourage air carriers to use the airport. — VNS