The Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) is currently making efforts to outline the master plan for the development of airports over this decade, with a vision for 2050, to align with the development of the country as well as meet the demand of investors and localities.

Trinh Duc Trong, vice director general of the MPI’s Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development said, “We are struggling to juggle proposals from investors while dealing with local governments on developing airports, as well as defining the direction of the country’s development. The master plan should be based on not only the demand of investors and localities, but also factors like resources allocation, efficiency, and the contribution to socioeconomic development.”

Trong noted that the current performance of local airports is questionable because very few operating airports are making a profit, while most of them are suffering losses. “The development of these local airports will be essential if the development of the economy, tourism, and people’s livelihoods are improved significantly,” said the MPI official.

Due to the increase in travel demand before and after the pandemic peak, some airports have been overloaded. In Tan Son Nhat International Airport, congestion can be found from the parking lots and check-in to security and boarding areas, with a lack of seats for passengers in every section. Even the planes themselves often have to wait in line to take off or circle the sky before landing because of a lack of space.

In some cases, airlines cannot manage flight timetables efficiently because of overload, poor management of aircraft parking, slow security screening, slow bus delays, lack of runway vehicles, and baggage carousel jams.

For these reasons, many airlines have requested to self-operate ground services at terminals to proactively plan their business and improve service quality for their passengers. However, not every proposal is accepted.

At present, terminal T2 at Danang International Airport and T2 at Cam Ranh Airport, which were built by private investors, report better efficiency and investment rates than others run by Airports Corporation of Vietnam. However, operation management is still handled by the corporation, so the quality of service has not much breakthrough.

The representative of one airline said that in order to improve the quality of airports and enhance capacity, the contribution of the private sector to development, operation, and management is essential.

“Private investors will contribute to dynamic services, diversifying revenue sources, and enhancing quality. The number of airline brands is few and the competition is bad, while the biggest bottleneck is infrastructure. If the monopoly continues, the infrastructure will get weaker and services will become stagnant,” he said.

On October 11, VIR will hold a roundtable on local airports and their economic prospects, which will feature the participation of dozens of policymakers, experts, and businesses in aviation. They will discuss the important role of local airports in tourism development, investment promotion, export and import, and ease of transport, as well as propose some solutions to encourage private investment in the sector.

“If forecasts and the master plan are carried out with high accuracy, private investment will be poured in a proper way to generate benefit for them, as well as significantly contribute to the socioeconomic development of the country,” said Trong from the Department of Infrastructure and Urban Development.

Source: VIR