Van Don Airport betting high on international markets

12:10 | 05/03/2019
A string of co-operation agreements were inked during a recent meeting on market expansion for the newly-launched Van Don International Airport in the north-eastern province of Quang Ninh, in the hope that Vietnam’s first private airport will soon greet the first foreign arrivals.
van don airport betting high on international markets
Several co-operation agreements were signed at the Van Don Airport promotion conference

The two-day meeting, with the attendance of more than 60 airlines and travel companies, saw a string of co-operation agreements on tourism and aviation signed between Van Don International Airport and well-known airlines and travel companies in the region, such as Sky Angkor, DHT Aviation Inc. (Vietnamese representative of major airlines in East Asia), Hana Tour (South Korea), Vietravel, and Smileviet JSC to name but a few.

Notably on the occasion, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) which manages Vietnam’s aviation business, announced that during the recent state visit of State President and Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the Kingdom of Cambodia, the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines signed an agreement on tourism co-operation development during 2019-2021 with Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism.

Accordingly, Vietnam Airlines will open routes linking Halong city, Quang Ninh province with famous destinations in Cambodia, including Siam Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville.

According to the CAAV’s deputy chief Vo Huy Cuong, this is the first step towards realising the prime minister’s Decision No.105/QD-TTg dated January 22, 2019 on fostering aviation connections with diverse visitor resource markets.

From now to 2025, Van Don Airport will link to numerous local destinations throughout the country via local routes as well as different foreign destinations such as China, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

“Towards this end, from now to 2025 Van Don Airport will be connected to Vinh, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Nam, Nha Trang, Can Tho, Da Lat, Hue, Quy Nhon, and Quy Quoc through domestic flights, and to international destinations in China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. These factors are important to the sustainable development of Van Don Airport and Quang Ninh’s tourism industry,” Cuong said.

Van Don Airport and Quang Ninh province have announced numerous incentives to attract domestic and foreign airlines and travel firms to open routes and tours to the province.

The incentives might cover price reductions for travel firms to open offices at the airport to sell tours or to post advertisements within the airport space.

“Van Don Airport also applies support incentives to airlines (mainly charter flights), such as cost reductions for taking off/landing or 70 per cent discounts on the ground service charge. For example, the ground service charge usually costs around VND20 million ($870), but now it is only VND5-6 million ($240),” said Pham Ngoc Sau, director of Van Don Airport.

From the part of the airport developer, Dang Minh Truong, chairman at Sun Group, unveiled that besides privileges to visitors (20-50 per cent ticket price discounts at Sun World Halong Complex), Sun Group commits to provide additional incentives to airlines and travel firms opening routes and tours to Quang Ninh, such as discounts at the group’s entertainment complexes in Quang Ninh, such as Sun World Halong Complex, and in the forthcoming months at Quang Hanh hot spring resort and Sun Premier Village Halong Bay resort.

Bottlenecks to be tackled

Leaders of the CAAV and Quang Ninh have voiced a raft of measures to help the province and Van Don Airport, ramping up their appeal in the eyes of foreign tourists.

Accordingly, the provincial authorities will call on other firms in the area to join efforts on building a comprehensive support package with generous incentives on accommodation, food, and ticket prices for tourists.

To support charter flights and stopover flights by airlines, Cuong said that CAAV always supports charter flights which help the airlines attract tourists to Vietnam, particularly Van Don.

Regarding stopover flights, they will soon work with relevant authorised agencies to assess the impacts as well as benefits of allowing airlines bringing tourists to Vietnam to make stopovers at several places instead of just one place like presently.

“We will work on impact assessments and issue a final decision soon,” Cuong said.

Stopover flights offering “one journey to multiple destinations” are regarded as important tourism products that draw particular attention from travel firms bringing tourists to Van Don, as the product suits tourists from East Asia, the market generating the largest revenue for tourism in Vietnam.

Geographically, Van Don Airport is a six-hour fly to Japan, a little more than three hours to Singapore, three hours to Taiwan, and two hours to Hong Kong, providing enormous development opportunities for the new airport and leveraging the robust growth of provincial tourism, attractive incentive policies by local government, and the strong spirit for innovation of the Vietnamese aviation management authority.

After nearly two months in operation, Van Don International Airport has welcomed over 15,000 passengers from the three largest Vietnamese airlines – Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways.

The airport receives about 30 flights every week, with flight occupancy approximating 70 per cent.

By Anh Duc

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