Vietnam is looking to develop international air services beyond the major hubs of Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
In a statement on its website, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) says that it wants to attract international services to five recently-expanded airports: Phu Bai, which serves Hue; Cam Ranh; Lien Khuong, which serves Da Lat and the central Highlands; Phu Quoc, which serves Vietnam’s largest island; and Can Tho, which serves the Mekong Delta.
“These airports have common characteristics of being located in densely populated areas of the central coast region, highland and Cuu Long River Delta, which have great economic potential and rapid development of air transport and tourism,” says the CAAV. “All of them are famous tourist destinations that attract both domestic and international visitors annually.”
Despite the potential of these airports, only Cam Ranh and Can Tho have international links. Vietnam Airlines operates scheduled services from Cam Ranh to Moscow, but its other international services are non-scheduled.
“Can Tho airport has received only a few charter flights to transport Taiwanese passengers in certain times of the year,” it adds.
Despite its proximity to Hue’s numerous tourist sites, Phu Bai airport has no international services. The airport recently reopened after being closed for most of 2013 for upgrades to its single runway to allow Airbus A321 aircraft to operate at their maximum take-off weight.
To help promote these destinations to international carriers, the CAAV recently held a conference for airlines and other players in the air travel sectors.
“The CAAV affirms that [it] will continue its policy of gradually relaxing regulatory control with regard to air transport through bilateral and multilateral air services agreements, developing Vietnam's aviation market towards liberalization, and connecting with aviation markets in the region and in the world.”
It noted that Vietnam’s aircraft movements, passenger traffic, and cargo traffic have almost quadrupled between 2002 and 2012.