The only airport in the north central province of Thanh Hoa, which has been used for military purpose, is set to welcome its first passengers on January 1 with the inauguration of flights to Ho Chi Minh City.
The temporary use of the Sao Vang Airport has been approved in order to satisfy current travel demands as the province awaits a new civilian airport to begin operations by 2020 and helps relieve the load on airports in nearby localities.
The Thanh Hoa People's Committee told VnExpress on November 19 that local authorities and the northern subsidiary of state-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines have been working together to ensure the launch of the Thanh Hoa-Ho Chi Minh City flight happens on schedule.
A 2.5-kilometer long road with an investment of VND142 billion (US$6.8 million), which will connect the airport with the National Highway No.47, as well as other facilities including drainage, light and traffic safety systems are being built. The money for these constructions has been sourced from the provincial budget.
The guesthouse of the committee's office will be used as a temporary ticketing office, local authorities said.
The Sao Vang Airport is located in Sao Vang Town, Tho Xuan District, 45 kilometers west of the capital city of Thanh Hoa Province.
The total number of passengers leaving Thanh Hoa for Ho Chi Minh City from Vinh Airport in the neighboring province of Nghe An is estimated at 60,000-70,000 every year, Vietnam Airlines had said in September.
The use of this airport is expected to boost this number by 15 percent in the first year of operation, and by 20 percent annually in the following years.
Vietnam Airlines said it will deploy its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft to make four to five flights per week at week and will increase it to seven in the future.
The province had announced early January last year its plans to build the VND2.6-trillion Thanh Hoa Airport at a site in Tinh Gia District, which is 30 kilometers south of provincial capital Thanh Hoa City.
The airport is expected to serve 250,000 passengers and allow the passage of 10,000 tons of goods every year by 2020, according to news website VnExpress.
The number of passengers and goods is expected to increase fourfold and twofold respectively after 2020, it reported.
Twenty one civil airports are operating in Vietnam now.
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