Excessive passenger numbers and crumbling infrastructure may see Hai Phong airport close temporarily, according to CAAV.
On June 9 the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) inspected the operational activities at Cat Bi Airport in northern Hai Phong city following incidents such as the runway cracking and equipment being damaged by lightning. The airport has been overloaded for some time and its infrastructure is inadequate, which led to the incidents. CAAV has altered flight frequencies so the airport can better cope.
According to Cat Bi Airport it handles 22 to 24 landings and take-offs every day. In 2014 it served 930,110 passengers, which was more than double its capacity.
Mr. Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of CAAV, said that due to the overloading and damaged infrastructure the airport may be temporarily shut down sometime soon. “The runway inspection team has to work whenever a plane lands or takes off, while this is done under a schedule at other airports,” said Mr. Cuong. “The team needs to identify any problems quickly and fix them.”
According to CAAV, repairs to the runway on May 29 after cracks were found are only a temporary solution and cannot guarantee there will be no further cracks.
Upgrades to Cat Bi Airport began in 2013, at a cost of VND3.6 trillion ($165 million). When the upgrades are completed, which is expected this year, the airport will have modern infrastructure that meets the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It will be able to cater to B777, B747, and A321 aircraft, serve 2 million passengers, and handle 20,000 tons of cargo.