Over the past three days, Tan Son Nhat International Airport saw a surge in travel volume as people head back to HCMC after Tet holiday.
On Saturday afternoon, a day before the Tet break ends, the airport’s domestic terminal was packed with travelers, with the majority returning residents.
The front of the arrival terminal was overrun by lines of people and their belongings as they waited, sometimes for hours, for someone to collect them.
After waiting for more than 30 minutes for a taxi to District 7, Nguyen Hoan said he was quite surprised by the crowded scene at the airport.
“My family returned to Ho Chi Minh City early since we feared the airport would be too overcrowded, however, we still couldn’t escape waiting hours in line,” said the 35-year-old man, adding that because he carried a lot of luggage, he had no choice but to continue waiting for a taxi.
Passengers await their turn to book a taxi at the domestic arrival terminal of Tan Son Nhat airport on Feb. 5, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Similarly, many passengers from a flight returning from north central Thanh Hoa Province to HCMC on Thursday had to wait for hours to grab a ride home.
“After waiting more than 30 minutes, I dragged my luggage to the airport gate on Truong Son Street to book a taxi out there, but it also took 20 minutes for someone to pick me up,” said Ha Giang.
According to the Southern Airport Authority (SAA), the number of travelers at Tan Son Nhat on Saturday exceeded 91,000, including about 66,000 arrivals. The airport served 342 incoming domestic flights the same day, concentrated from noon to night, averaging 17-22 flights per hour.
On Friday, visitors to the airport reached about 60,000, an increase of more than 18,000 compared to Feb. 3 or the third day of the Lunar New Year break.
Due to the sheer numbers, transport services failed to meet demand. SAA expects the number of passengers would remain high Sunday and may increase compared to the past few days.
Tan Son Nhat airport is overrun by air travelers on Feb. 5, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Minh
Transport representatives ascribed the problem to a shortage of drivers.
Ta Long Hy, deputy general director of Anh Duong Vietnam JSC (Vinasun), said the unit currently mobilizes over 2,000 cars to serve customers. However, the impact of Covid-19 had recently caused the number of drivers to drop, with many still on Tet holiday.
Besides, Hy said company taxis not only served the airport, but other locations too.
A representative of Mai Linh said it is currently mobilizing 100 percent of its personnel, but that the number of customers at the airport had drastically increased, making it impossible to meet all needs.
The company stated customers could book a taxi through the switchboard or its own app to actively coordinate a pick-up.
Previously, in November 2020, internal traffic at Tan Son Nhat airport was adjusted.
A domestic station with four lanes A, B, C, D was separate for picking up and dropping off passengers, with lanes A, B and C designated for private pick-ups.
Lane D now serves taxis and other commercial transport firms contracted by Tan Son Nhat airport.
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