|Severe congestion at Noi Bai international airport (Photo: Zing.vn)
Late June saw the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam announce it had closed two runways for repair at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports, causing long queues of aircraft to form as they were left waiting on the runway to take off.
After the closure of one runway at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, the airport was only able to operate 32 flights per hour, marking a decline of 12 flights compared to normal times. Furthermore, Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi capital was also forced to reduce its operation capacity to 29 flights per hour in comparison to its normal schedule of 32 flights.
In a statement released on July 7, Bamboo Airways noted that repairs to the runways had forced the airline to adjust the flight times of 12 scheduled flights in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City during July, in addition to cancelling six flights on routes between Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc.
Meanwhile, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines also confirmed that it has reduced the number of flight slots it had at Tan Son Nhat due to the closure of a runway for repairs. Many flights operated by Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines have been affected by the disruption, leading to delays in flights at other airports.
A representative of the airline outlined that the on-time flight index (OTP) has seen sharp drops, hovering between 50% and 70%. Indeed, July 3 saw the company's OTP decrease by 36.7% due to runway congestion and poor weather conditions.
Tackling the issue, Transport Minister Nguyen Van The sent a letter expressing sympathy to passengers that have been affected by these incidents.
As a result, all passengers travelling from the airports in the immediate future have been advised to arrive two hours before their scheduled departure times in an effort to avoid delays when conducing check-in procedures.
Both Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports are now operating only one runway each. The repairs are predicted to last until the Lunar New Year festival known as the traditional Tet holiday in Vietnam, as contractors have to work both night and day to keep the new runways in use during the peak period that is the annual Tet holiday.