The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) reported strong numbers in both the domestic and international sectors in the first quarter of 2022 as the country reopened to international travelers back in March. The exponential growth of 440% in the number of international travelers was recorded on-year between January and March 2022.
By March 2022, 23 airlines have operated 67 routes between Vietnam and 20 countries, bringing in over 320,000 travelers and handling 290,000 tonnes of cargo in and out of the country. The domestic sector had reported numbers with 6.5 million passengers and 48,000 tonnes of cargo transported, a slight decrease compared to 2021 within the same period. However, with the number of flights reaching to pre-pandemic level in April, airlines have started to operate new routes between smaller cities like Can Tho City to exploit the potential of them serving as a secondary hub.
Introduction of new domestic routes in Vietnam
The CAAV reported to the Ministry of Transport on the increase in flight operations to Can Tho International Airport as the result of the Prime Minister’s direction to strengthen the exploitation of Can Tho City as a tourist attraction. Before the pandemic, from 2015 to 2019, Can Tho International Airport had a steady growth an averaging 29% per year in terms of passengers number.
The numbers plummeted as the pandemic hit the country and a record drop of 61% was recorded in 2020. As of March 2022, Vietnamese airlines have operated an average of 125 flights per week connecting Can Tho and other cities in Vietnam. As for international flights, AirAsia and Thai AirAsia had expressed interest in resuming flights to connect Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok with Can Tho respectively by summer 2022.
Can Tho as the secondary gateway into Ho Chi Minh City
Can Tho City is located 130km from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s Southern hub for tourism and commerce. The Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minh Chinh had directed the promotion of Can Tho city earlier, stating the strengthening of trade with other cities is to be implemented. Can Tho City is the closest city to Ho Chi Minh City and also the largest city in the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam. Famous for its floating market and unique landscape shaped by the Mekong River, the city serves as a secondary attraction to tourists exploring the country’s South in Ho Chi Minh City as it is only 2hr away by road.
As of 2019, the peak capacity for Can Tho airport was around 40% in terms of its terminal capacity and 15% in terms of takeoff and landing slots. This signifies the airport’s potential in drawing in more travelers to help alleviate the arrival slot problem at Tan Son Nhat International Airport which has already reached its max capacity.
Would the new domestic network aid Can Tho City to become a secondary gateway to the south of Vietnam? Could the promotion of Can Tho City be a short-term solution to relieving the air traffic congestion arriving in Ho Chi Minh City before Long Thanh International Airport is scheduled to finish? For more information on aviation news from our team, click here.