Authorities in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province have proposed increasing the frequency of helicopter rides from the mainland to Con Dao after the tourist island closed its airport for a nine-month upgrade.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam on Monday said Con Dao Airport will be closed from April to December next year for an upgrade expected to increase its capacity from 400,000 to two million passengers a year in 2030.
During the airport closure, tourists are still able to reach Con Dao Islands by helicopter from Vung Tau Town. There are currently two return helicopter rides a week every Friday and Sunday operated by the Southern Vietnam helicopter company.
At a meeting Tuesday, Trinh Hang, director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, said Con Dao has been witnessing a surge in tourist numbers in recent years and the airport closure will affect travel demand.
He proposed the Ministry of Transport to consider increasing helicopter rides from the mainland to Con Dao and launching commercial flights by helicopter from Ho Chi Minh City.
Con Dao Airport was built by the French in the 20th century and upgraded in 2003 for commercial use. At present it is closed at night because it lacks a runway lighting system.
The upgrade next year would enable the airport to handle large jet aircraft and further develop its tourism potential.
Con Dao, famous for its beautiful beaches as well as a wartime prison, had welcomed 400,000 tourists in 2019, up 37 percent year-on-year.
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