​Vietnam’s first private airport receives test flight

The touchdown symbolizes a milestone in readying the terminal for full operation later this year

Beechcraft’s Super King Air 350 taxis on the runway of the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam, July 11, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s first-ever private run airport saw its first test flight successfully launched on Wednesday morning, representing a step closer to the planned full operation in early December of the terminal, located in the northern coastal region.

A Super King Air 350 produced by the U.S.’s Beechcraft landed at the Van Don International Airport, which has been under construction since March 2016, in Quang Ninh Province.

The twin-propeller plane, piloted by Charles John Fogarty, touched down on the airport about half an hour after departing the Cat Bi International Airport in the neighboring city of Hai Phong.

The ferry flight was part of a five-day test to check whether the air traffic control system and runways at the facility meet safety standards.

The rehearsal only hires experienced, licensed pilots and foreign aircraft, a leader from state-owned Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday.

Under-construction facilities are seen at the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Under-construction facilities are seen at the Van Don International Airport in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The 325-hectare Van Don terminal will be run by Sun Group – a Vietnamese corporation in real estate, infrastructure and resorts – which is investing around VND7,700 billion (US$331 million) into the project.

With nine runways that are 3.6 kilometers long and 45 meters wide, the airport can receive cargo or passenger aircraft like Boeing 777, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 747 jet airliners.

By 2020, it is expected to handle 2.5 million passengers annually and 1,250 ones during peak times.

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