A Vietnam Airlines flight departing from Hanoi for Singapore on Thursday morning marked the official opening of a new terminal, now the country’s largest and most modern of its kind, at Noi Bai International Airport.
The Vietnam Airlines flight VN661 left the capital at 10:45 am from Terminal 2 (T2), a world-class four-story terminal spanning 139,000 square meters.
Construction of the facility started in December 2011 at a total cost of ¥75.5 billion (US$645.35 million), requiring a workforce of 1,300 people.
Japan’s official development assistance accounted for ¥59 billion ($504.27 million) of the investment, while the remaining amount was covered by the local budget.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said all of its international services will land at and take off from the new terminal from December 31 onward.
No-frills carrier VietJet Air also announced in a press release last week that all of its international flights will relocate from T1 – the other terminal – to T2, also starting on the last day of this year.
The check-in counters of both airlines at the new terminal have been given a facelift with more modern designs.
The new facility is capable of handling up to 15 million passengers a year.
It will ease much of the pressure on the T1 terminal, which became overloaded last year with 12 million annual passengers.
Foreign arrivals in Vietnam rose more than 10 percent last year to 7.6 million, according to Reuters, which cited government data.
The Vietnamese aviation market is forecast to be the world’s 7th fastest-growing in the 2013-2017 period, with annual growth rates of 6.9 percent and 6.6 percent expected for international passengers and freight, respectively, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Aviation currently contributes $6 billion to Vietnam’s GDP and provides over 230,000 jobs, IATA general director Tony Tyler told a workshop in Hanoi in late August. Between 2008 and 2013, Vietnam’s passenger traffic grew by 96 percent, he said.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport is trying to sell a plan to build Long Thanh International Airport, to be located in the eponymous district of the southern province of Dong Nai, around 32km east of Ho Chi Minh City.
The total capital required to build the new airport, designed to be able to handle 100 million passengers a year by its last phase, is estimated at $18.7 billion for all three phases, according to a report by the ministry.
The first phase ending by 2025 will require an estimated $7.8 billion, while the respective capital needed for the next two phases, completed by 2030 and after that, is $3.8 billion and over $7 billion.
The new airport is hoped to ease pressure on Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, which the transport ministry said will become overloaded somewhere between 2016 and 2017.
Below are some photos of the new T2 terminal at Noi Bai taken by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters.