The Vietnamese Ministry of Transport could transfer the right to operate services in one of the two terminals of Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport to a local private carrier, Minister Dinh La Thang said Wednesday.
Relevant aviation agencies should consider whether to allow VietJet Air to run Terminal T1 for 20 or 50 years, the minister told a meeting in Hanoi.
In early February, the privately-owned carrier submitted a document to Minister Thang, asking to be transferred the right to exploit the T1 for 20 years.
Terminal T1, spanning 115,000 square meters, is capable of serving nine million passengers per year with 19 boarding gates, according to Dau Tu (Investment), a newspaper under the Ministry of Investment and Planning.
The terminal currently serves only passengers of domestic flights operated by VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific, after the modern terminal T2 was commissioned late last year.
VietJet Air is exploiting the entire Row E of Terminal T1.
Khuat Viet Hung, deputy chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, thus suggested that the transport ministry carefully consider whether to only transfer the right to exploit Row E, or the entire terminal, to VietJet Air.
Minister Thang, meanwhile, ordered the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) to pilot transferring the operation right of Row E to VietJet Air before doing so with the entire terminal T1.
He also requested that the Vietnamese aviation sector focus on pilot programs to sell 100 percent of the government’s investment in Phu Quoc International Airport on the eponymous island off the southern province of Kien Giang and part of Da Nang International Airport to budget airlines.
The right transfers will generate money to invest in building new international airports, he said.
The VND3 trillion (US$139.81 million) Phu Quoc airport was mostly funded by the ACV, according to The Saigon Times Online, which cited the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
The plan to transfer its operation right thus “has grounds and high feasibility,” according to the CAAV.
In late 2014 the transport ministry started work on a series of airport upgrading projects, including the Cat Bi airport in the northern city of Hai Phong, Phu Cat in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, and Tho Xuan in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, according to The Saigon Times Online.
All of the projects are funded by the ACV, a 100 percent government-owned company.