It has a designed capacity of 25 million passengers but handled 32 million last year. The airport has been growing at 30 percent annually, and this growth is expected to continue for the next three years, meaning it is certain to be even more severely overloaded before things get better.
There will then be a shortage of everything from runway, parking, terminals and even space for transport in its vicinity.
The Ministry of Defence has already pitched in by moving all military training operations from Tan Son Nhat Airport to Bien Hoa Airport in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai.
Two plots of military land measuring 21ha and 7.63ha will be handed over to the Ministry of Transport to expand Tan Son Nhat’s parking space to accommodate 96 aircraft at a time.
The ministry has given assent to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV)’s proposal to build a new mixed-use terminal with a capacity of 10 million passengers a year within 12 months. It will be built on a three-hectare former military land.
On its completion, the terminal along with the existing T1 and T2 will take the total capacity to 38 million passengers a year.
A plan is also taking shape to build a fourth terminal also on military land and handle another 10 million passengers a year.
To access the T4 terminal, Cong Hoa Street will be widened using military land, and it will also make access to the other terminals easier.
The director of HCM City’s transport department, Bui Xuan Cuong, said that in 2017 his department would carry out deploy six different works to ease traffic around the airport at a total cost of nearly VND1.4 trillion, including two flyovers at the intersections of Truong Son – Binh Loi streets in Tan Binh district and Nguyen Thai Son – Nguyen Kiem streets in Go Vap district.
To cope with the traffic congestion around the airport, a consultancy company submitted three different proposals at a recent meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung.
Under the first, all infrastructure like runways, terminals, parking space will be built on what is now a golf course and a residential area around it.
The airport’s capacity will go up to 60 million passengers a year but it will take 10 – 15 years to move 140,000 households and cost around VND200 trillion.
Under the second proposal, one more runway will be built in addition to terminal T4. It will cost VND61 trillion, take eight to 10 years to build and increase the capacity to around 45 million passengers a year.
Under the third plan, most of the new construction will be on military land, it will cost only around VND20 trillion and take three years, but still be large enough to serve around 45 million passengers a year.
Deputy PM Dung and other authorities opted for the third plan and are preparing to submit it to the Government for approval.