TAN SON NHAT (SGN) AIRPORT
Tan Son Nhat International Airport (IATA: SGN, ICAO: VVTS) (Vietnamese: Sân bay quốc tế Tân Sơn Nhất, Vietnamese: Cảng hàng không quốc tế Tân Sơn Nhất) is Vietnam’s largest international airport in terms of area (850 ha or 2,100 acres compared with 650 ha or 1,606 acres of Ha Noi’s Noi Bai (Vn. Nội Bài) International Airport and Da Nang’s (Vn. Đà Nẵng) International Airport. After recent expansion to meet increasing demand, it currently has a handling capacity of 25 million passengers per year, compared with the capacity of Hanoi – Noi Bai airport of 19 million passengers and Da Nang’s 6 million passengers. It is also the largest airport of Vietnam in terms of passengers handled with almost 22 million passengers in 2014, serving Ho Chi Minh City as well as the rest of southeastern Vietnam. Its IATA code, SGN, is derived from the city’s former name of Saigon.
A new international terminal funded by Japanese official development assistance and constructed by a consortium of four Japanese contractors (KTOM, abbreviation of four contractors’ names: Kajima – Taisei – Obayashi Corporation – Maeda), opened in September 2007 with a capacity for 12 million passengers a year. The new terminal gives the airport a total annual capacity of 20 million passengers. The old terminal is now used for domestic flights. After 2020, when Long Thanh International Airport is completed, Tan Son Nhat will remain operational; however, it will mostly serve for domestic flights, a few international flights and no longer serve transit flights.
Following the opening of its new international terminal in September 2007, Tan Son Nhat has two major terminal buildings with separate sections for international and domestic flights. The capacity of the new terminal, once fully completed, will be 8 million passengers per annum. When Long Thanh International Airport is completed, Tan Son Nhat will serve domestic passengers only.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam, by Decision 1646/TTg-NN, has approved the addition of 40 hectares (99 acres) of adjacent area to extend the apron and to build a cargo terminal to handle the rapid increase of passenger (expected to reach 17 million in 2010, compared to 7 million and 8.5 million in 2005 and 2006 respectively) and cargo volume at the airport
Terminals, airlines and destinations
Domestic flights operate from Terminal 1, whilst international flights use Terminal 2.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport has its origins in the early 1930s when the French colonial government constructed a small airport with unpaved runways, known as Tan Son Nhat Airfield near the village of Tan Son Nhat. By mid-1956, with U.S. aid, a 7,200-foot (2,190 m) runway had been built and the airfield near Saigon became known as South Vietnam’s principal international gateway. During the Vietnam War (or Second Indochina War), Tan Son Nhut Air Base (then using the alternative spelling Tân Sơn Nhứt) was an important facility for both the U.S. Air Force and the South Vietnamese Air Force. Between 1968 and 1974, Tan Son Nhut Airport was one of the busiest military airbases in the world. During the last days of South Vietnam, Pan Am schedules from 1973 showed Boeing 747 service was being operated four times a week in San Francisco via Guam and Manila. Continental Airlines operated up to 30 Boeing 707 military charters per week to and from Tan Son Nhut Airport during the 1968–74 period.
The Tan Son Nhat airport’s future.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is located inside the crowded city of Ho Chi Minh City, making expansions difficult. Following a recent decision by the Vietnamese Prime Minister, a new airport—Long Thanh International Airport—will replace Tan Son Nhat airport for international departure use. The master plan for the new airport was approved in April 2006. The new airport will be built in Long Thanh county, Dong Nai province, about 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Ho Chi Minh City and 70 km (43 mi) northwest of the petroleum-focused city of Vung Tau, near Highway 51A.
Long Thanh International Airport will be constructed on an area of 50 square kilometres (19 sq mi) and will have four runways (4,000 m x 60 m or 13,100 ft x 200 ft) and be capable of receiving the Airbus A380. The project will be divided into two stages. Stage One calls for the construction of two parallel runways and a terminal with a capacity of 20 million passengers per year, due to be completed in 2020. Stage Two is scheduled for completion in 2035, giving the airport with three passenger terminals and a cargo terminal designed to receive 5 million metric tons of cargo per year. The total invested capital of this project is an estimated US$8 billion.
Upon completion of Long Thanh International Airport, Tan Son Nhat Airport will serve domestic passengers only. Long Thanh International Airport is expected to be the leading airport on the Indochinese peninsula, and one of the busiest air transportation hubs in the southeast Asian region.
Ho Chi Minh City is a municipality at the same level as Vietnam’s provinces, which is subdivided into 24 district-level sub-divisions (as of 2003): 5 rural districts (1,601 km2 or 618 sq mi in area), which are designated as rural (huyện): Củ Chi, Hóc Môn, Bình Chánh, Nhà Bè, Cần Giờ, 19 urban districts (494 km2 or 191 sq mi in area), which are designated urban or suburban (quận): District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 6, District 7, District 8, District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, Gò Vấp, Tân Bình, Tân Phú, Bình Thạnh, Phú Nhuận, Thủ Đức, Bình Tân. They are further subdivided into 5 commune-level towns (or townlets), 58 communes, and 259 wards.