Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh received its first international flight from China on Monday, welcoming 140 passengers from Shenzhen.
The route is operated by Donghai Airlines. There will be two charter flights per week on the route, on Monday and Friday.
Director of Van Don Airport Pham Ngoc Sau said welcoming an international flight after only five months in operation was a new record in Vietnam.
“New airports usually take three to five years to be able to welcome international flights,” said Sau.
Sáu said the airport would create the best conditions for Donghai Airlines to continue to fly into Van Don. It will also promote Van Don and Ha Long Bay to customers in Shenzhen and mainland China.
“The opening of the new Van Don-Shenzhen route is a premise for Van Don Airport to continue pursuing its strategy towards the international market, starting with the most populous markets in Asia such as China, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea and Japan,” Sáu said.
In June, the airport will add international routes to Taiwan through Bamboo Airways and Incheon (South Korea) with Vietnam Airlines. For the Chinese market, there will be routes to Hainan, Nanning and Guangzhou.
“It’s expected that by the end of 2019, it will add new routes to Japan and Bangkok, Thailand,” Sau said.
In the domestic market, it will add flights connecting Van Don with Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Nha Trang in the third quarter this year.
After nearly five months of operation, Van Don Airport has welcomed more than 90,000 passengers with 664 flights by Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways and Vietjet Air.
Adding international flights is expected to contribute to the plan to attract tourists to Quang Ninh, with the province targeting 15 to 16 million visitors – including seven million foreign visitors – by 2020.
The airport has a capacity of receiving 2.5 million passengers per year and is expected to expand to a capacity of welcoming five million passengers per year by 2030.