Vietnam's Con Dao Airport To Close For 9 Month Expansion

10/08/2022 08:12
Situated on Con Son Island, Con Dao Airport (VCS) serves the Vietnamese archipelago of the same name. The facility just off the country's south coast handles domestic flights to a variety of destinations, but its operations are limited by its size. As such, it has planned a temporary closure to facilitate an expansion.
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The project will allow the facility to increase its capacity by a factor of five. (Photo: Tycho via Wikimedia Commons)

Not closing until next year

As per a helpful tip-off by Simple Flying reader Dinh Van Nguyen, Vietnamese outlet VTV has reported that, as part of a plan made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, Con Dao Airport will close next April. It plans to remain inactive for the rest of 2023, with the nine-month dormant period allowing work to take place.

This will ultimately enable the facility to increase its annual capacity to 2 million passengers per year, some five times more than it presently handles. A key factor in this will be upgrading the airport in a manner that allows it to handle larger narrowbody twinjets, such as the Airbus A320 and A321.

For example, the airport plans to widen its 1,830-meter-long runway (11/29) by five meters, as well as assign 15 meters to its length. Additionally, it will quadruple the amount of available parking stands for aircraft with this figure rising from two to eight. Lighting will also be upgraded in order to facilitate nighttime operations.

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Flights to Con Dao are presently the domain of regional aircraft like the ATR 72. (Photo: Patrick Farrelly via Wikimedia Commons)

Part of a wider public investment program

The upgrades to Con Dao Airport form part of a larger public investment initiative, which is running from 2021 to 2025. This will see the facility's runway expansion work, and other factors that will enable the handling of Airbus A320 family jets, be funded by the state budget, as invested by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) will provide investment for other elements of the expansion project that concern Con Dao Airport's infrastructure. These include work on drainage and lighting, as well as upgrading roads and the terminal to help deal with the increased passenger loads.

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The airport's terminal will also be expanded as part of the project. (Photo: Tycho via Wikimedia Commons)

Island connectivity will be impacted

While the upgrade initiative will ultimately result in a better airport for the Con Dao archipelago, its closure will likely cause significant disruption in the shorter term. After all, it provides the islands with a series of vital air links to mainland Vietnam. These include flights to the country's busiest airport, Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International (SGN). Can Tho is another popular destination.

In order to retain connectivity between the archipelago and the mainland, VTV notes that the Ministry of Transport plans to request the coordination of extra ship traffic to meet the demand. Helicopters will also reportedly be considered as an alternative, which could make for some spectacular flights to the islands.

Cre: Simple Flying

Nguyen Xuan Nghia - COMM

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