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Passengers at Hanoi Noi Bai airport get some fresh air!

A few days before the end of the year 2013, Hanoi International Airport in Noi Bai inaugurated the expansion of its main terminal, bringing some relief to passengers who had to deal with congested facilities.

HANOI – It was certainly hard to anticipate a few years ago. But Hanoi international Airport has been under increased pressure due to the rapid rise in passengers volume. In 2005, the airport was only welcoming 3.5 million passengers a year. Last year, Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport had to accommodate 13 million passengers, a new record for Northern Vietnam main air gateway. In the last two years, the volume of passengers was twice higher than the current air terminal capacity, designed originally to accommodate six million passengers.

Authorities are now working urgently on the airport’s expansion with a first phase being finally inaugurated on December 29 by the Airports Corporation of Vietnam. Located in a brand new building next to the current Terminal 1, the newly opened Zone E offers 25,000sq m. of spaces and is capable of receiving 3 million passengers each year. The project requested a total investment of US$ 237 million. The terminal is equipped with 38 aviation procedure stalls, an oversized baggage desk, four baggage claim areas, and two escalators. If it will bring some relief to passengers, it will however not solve congestion problems as the new total passengers’ capacity of 9 million passengers is still far behind the current volume of traffic.

Passengers will then have to wait until the end of this year for the opening of the new Terminal 2. The terminal 2 is a 4-storied international passenger terminal building with floor area of approximately 139,216 m2 and is financed through a loan from Japan. It is designed for a capacity of 10 million passengers a year rising total capacity at Noi Bai to 19 million passengers, which should give some space to passengers until the end of the decade… The airport will open its doors next November and requested an investment of US$ 900 million.

Last December, following the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Vietnam, the Japan International Cooperation Agency has agreed to provide loans worth a combined US$,447.54 million for further infrastructure development including the further expansion of the Terminal 2. A new investment of US$ 250 million will be required to that effect. The other project will be poured into a new motorway linking Hanoi suburbs to neighbouring localities of Hai Phong, Hai Duong and Bac Ninh passing through Noi Bai Airport.

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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.