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Cat Bi International Airport put into service
Le Anh
Friday,  May 13, 2016,19:28 (GMT+7)

Cat Bi International Airport put into service

Le Anh

By Le Anh - The Saigon Times Daily

The opening ceremony of Cat Bi International Airport in Haiphong on May 12 - PHOTO: CHINHPHU.VN

HCMC - Haiphong City and investors held a ceremony to put into service Cat Bi International Airport on May 12 after more than two years of upgrade, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attending.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Phuc described Cat Bi as an important airport not only for Haiphong but also the northern coastal provinces as people in the city, Quang Ninh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Hai Duong and Hung Yen can now travel by air from the airport to other parts of Vietnam and abroad.

Phuc was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that Cat Bi, together with Haiphong International Port, Tan Vu-Lach Huyen Bridge and Hanoi-Haiphong and Quang Ninh-Hai Phong expressways, will form a complete transport network and fuel socioeconomic development in the region.

He told the Ministry of Transport, Haiphong and other localities to boost construction of transport, tourism and service infrastructure networks to make the most of the airport.

He requested Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation to maintain infrastructure facilities at the airport, and coordinate with relevant agencies to ensure flight safety.

At the inauguration ceremony, Cat Bi received a decision recognizing it as an international airport.
Haiphong, ACV and Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation spent VND3.66 trillion (US$163.7 million) building a new runway, an air traffic control tower, and a terminal able to handle two million passengers a year.

The capital also went to building a new area for eight Airbus A321 aircraft to park at a time, upgrading taxiways, and installing a new lighting system for aircraft to land and take off at night.

Local authorities boasted that the upgraded airport can accommodate Boeing B777s, Boeing B747s and equivalents.

Cat Bi now meet 4E standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for an international airport and can serve as a backup for Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

Also yesterday, domestic airlines launched new flights to and from Haiphong.

Vietnam Airlines opened a route linking Tan Son Nhat airport in HCMC and Cat Bi, using Boeing B787s. The national flag carrier is cooperating with Haiphong to conduct more services to Cat Bi, including international ones.

Vietjet commenced Haiphong-Phu Quoc service with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Besides, the no-frills airline will offer three weekly flights between Haiphong and the Central Highlands city of Dalat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from May 20.

For the Haiphong-Buon Ma Thuot route, the second biggest carrier in Vietnam will operate four flights per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from June 2.

Another budget carrier, Jetstar Pacific, has registered to open two services between Haiphong and China.

Passengers and cargo at Cat Bi increased sharply before it was turned into an international airport. In 2010-2015, the airport posted annual growth of 20%.

Although the airport was under upgrade last year, it handled 1.3 million passengers and 6,390 tons of cargo, rising by 35,6% and 13.6% respectively over the previous year. It accommodated 9,014 flights in 2015, up 33.8% versus 2014.

Around 363,600 passengers went through Cat Bi in January-March, up a staggering 48.7% from the first quarter of 2015. Cargo rose by 15% year-on-year to 1.610 tons.
Cat Bi is expected to handle 2.3 million passengers and 11,000 tons of cargo by 2020.

To enable Cat Bi to receive more passengers and cargo, the Prime Minister approved a project to build a new runway and passenger terminal in 2012.

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