An official at Tan Son Nhat Airport has criticized families of arriving passengers for overburdening its facilities the past few days, saying that for each arrival there were at least five people waiting outside.
The Ho Chi Minh City airport, which has already exceeded its capacity, is seeing an unusual influx of passengers. Around 10,000 overseas Vietnamese flew in every day over the past week, ready for a reunion with their families for the Lunar New Year holiday.
Delays and long lines inside the international terminal have been reported.
But outside, there is also an intimidating crowd as people travel in droves from across the city and nearby provinces to pick up their incoming relatives.
“We cannot avoid the strain if every person flying home is to be greeted by five or even 10 family members,” an unidentified official told news website VnExpress.
But the families have their reason.
A woman from the southern province of Binh Phuoc said her extended family came to greet her daughter as they were so excited about her first homecoming for the first time in years.
“If I know it would be this crowded, I might have stayed home,” she said, jostling for a place to stand in the waiting area.
A man from the southern province of Ben Tre said the airport should have arranged more chairs.
But the airport official said no airport in the world does that as people arriving are supposed to leave the airport as fast as possible instead of having a reunion right there.
“No airport can handle that burden.”
The official said the airport cannot ban people from coming to greet their relatives, but people should know the flight details to come just in time and save themselves from the exhausting wait.
Tan Son Nhat is seeing a 10 percent increase in the number of passengers compared to last year’s busy holiday season.
The airport was designed to serve 13 million travelers in the domestic terminal and 10 million in the international terminal every year, but the number in 2015 exceeded 26.5 million.