BUSINESS

New airport opens Phu Quoc to the world

Tuoitrenews

Updated : 12/03/2012 11:52 GMT + 7

With its new international airport officially becoming operational Sunday, the southern island of Phu Quoc is now able to connect with domestic and regional destinations, opening the door wide for tourism and eco-social development.

The VND16.2 trillion (US$771 million) Phu Quoc International Airport received its first flight, an ATR 72 aircraft of national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA), early on Sunday, marking the beginning of its official operation.

The 900-ha terminal, with 3,000 meter-long and 45 meter-wide runway, is capable of receiving Boeing 777s, Boeing 747- 400s, and similar aircraft, and some 2.6 million passengers a year.

The new airport will replace the old Phu Quoc Airport in Duong Dong Town, which has been shut down.

New air routes

VNA currently offers 67 weekly services between Phu Quoc and the cities of Ho Chi Minh, Rach Gia, and Can Tho.

The flagship carrier is scheduled to open new air route connecting the island with Hanoi with five flights a week on an Airbus A321 aircraft on December 12. The service will be the longest domestic route ever offered, with an expected length of 2 hours and 25 minutes.

Low-cost carrier VietJet Air, meanwhile, will unveil its HCMC – Phu Quoc service with one flight per day also as of December 12.

To prepare for the operation of Phu Quoc airport, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam, and the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam have called on local and international carriers to open services to the terminal by promising attractive incentives.

“Some airlines from Russia, the EU, South Korea, and Southeast Asia have been conducting market and marketing research to offer services to the island,” said Dao Viet Dung, director of Phu Quoc airport.

VNA and VietJet Air have also considered offering services connecting Phu Quoc and other international terminals, he added.

“Meanwhile, Air Mekong plans to open Phu Quoc to air routes from Laos and Cambodia.”

Infrastructure problems

Phu Quoc currently receives 600,000 tourists on an annual basis, so the new airport, with the capacity to handle 2.6 million visitors, is capable of serving the development of the island for the next 15 or 20 years, Dung said.

“The problem is that the island’s traffic and accommodation infrastructure should be improved to lure investors,” he said.

Most of the roads connecting the airport to other areas on the island are now under construction.

“We are urging the relevant agencies to finish some of the traffic infrastructure projects to connect the airport with the towns and communes on the island,” said Huynh Quang Hung, deputy chairman of the Phu Quoc District’s People’s Committee.

“The north – south road from Duong Dong town to the airport must be finished by the Lunar New Year, while the road that connects it with An Thoi town is expected to reach completion on April 30, 2013,” he added.