Vietnam's biggest airport full 3 years ahead of schedule

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Foreigners wait to complete immigration procedures at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City / PHOTO COURTESY OF TBKTSG

Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat, Vietnam's largest airport, has reached its designed capacity of 20 million passengers per year, three years sooner than expected, Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon (Saigon Times) Online reported.

With 44 international and local airlines operating from there, the airport would become overloaded when the annual passenger count reaches 25 million, the Vietnam Airlines Corporation has been quoted as saying.

It has grown at 15 percent annually in recent years.

The corporation said it would expand both the domestic and international terminals to increase Tan Son Nhat's capacity to 25 million passengers and 600,000 tons of goods per year.

It now handles around 45 percent of the all passengers at Vietnamese airports.

This year it also handled 375,000 tons of goods, up 10 percent year-on-year.

Japan Airports Consultants Corp., which consulted for an airport in the neighboring province of Dong Nai as an alternative to Tan Son Nhat, had said that the latter would peak at 20-25 million passengers between 2017 and 2020 before becoming overloaded.

Work on the new Long Thanh Airport will begin in 2015. It will have a capacity of 25 million passengers by 2020 and double that by 2030.

When the new airport opens, Tan Son Nhat will gradually become a domestic airport.

The US$8-billion Long Thanh Airport was approved by the government in August 2011, but has faced relentless opposition from critics who dismiss it as wasteful and say it would be better to expand the existing airport.

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