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Tan Son Nhat International Airport

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Tân Sn Nht International Airport
Sân bay Quc t Tân Sn Nht
Airport typePublic / Military
OwnerVietnamese government
OperatorAirports Corporation of Vietnam
ServesHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam
LocationTan Binh District
Hub for
Elevation AMSL10 m / 33 ft
Coordinates10°4908N 106°3907E / 10.81889°N 106.65194°E / 10.81889; 106.65194Coordinates: 10°4908N 106°3907E / 10.81889°N 106.65194°E / 10.81889; 106.65194
Location of the airport in Vietnam
SGN (Southeast Asia)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07L/25R 3,050 10,007 Concrete
07R/25L 3,800 12,467 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Total passengers35,900,000 10.5%
International passengers13,600,000 31.9%
Source: ACV[1]

Tân Sn Nht International Airport (IATA: SGN, ICAO: VVTS) (Vietnamese: Sân bay quc t Tân Sn Nht, Vietnamese: Cng hàng không quc t Tân Sn Nht) is the busiest airport in Vietnam with 32.5 million passengers in 2016,[2] serving Ho Chi Minh City as well as the rest of southeastern Vietnam. As of January 2017, it had a total capacity of only 25 million passengers,[3] which has caused constant congestion and sparked debate for expanding or building a new airport. The airport's IATA code, SGN, is derived from the city's former name of Saigon.


Tan Son Nhat International Airport has its origins in the early 1930s, when the French colonial government constructed a small airport with unpaved runways, known as Tân Sn Nht Airfield near the village of Tan Son Nhat. By mid-1956, with U.S. aid, a 7,200-foot (2,190 m) runway had been built and the airfield near Saigon became known as South Vietnam's principal international gateway. During the Vietnam War (or Second Indochina War), Tan Son Nhut Air Base (then using the alternative spelling Tân Sn Nht) was an important facility for both the U.S. Air Force and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. Between 1968 and 1974, Tan Son Nhut Airport was one of the busiest military airbases in the world. During the last days of South Vietnam, Pan Am schedules from 1973 showed Boeing 747 service was being operated four times a week to San Francisco via Guam and Manila.[4] Continental Airlines operated up to 30 Boeing 707 military charters per week to and from Tan Son Nhut Airport during the 196874 period.[5]

Post-war era

On 9 December 2004, United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to fly to Vietnam since Pan Am's last flight during the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. Flight UA 869, operated using a Boeing 747-400 landed at Ho Chi Minh City, the terminus of the flight that originated from San Francisco via Hong Kong. On 29 October 2006, this service was switched from San Francisco to Los Angeles with a stop in Hong Kong, operating as UA 867 (also using a Boeing 747-400). In 2009, the service UA 869 has resumed once again from San Francisco via Hong Kong International Airport.[6] United ceased the route to San Francisco via Hong Kong on 30 October 2011. The airline resumed the route from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong after its merger with Continental Airlines. The flight no longer makes a stop at San Francisco and it was flown on a Boeing 777-200ER instead of Boeing 747-400.

In 2006, Tan Son Nhat International Airport served approximately 8.5 million passengers (compared with 7 million in 2005) with 64,000 aircraft movements.[7] It has recently accounted for nearly two-thirds of the arrivals and departures at Vietnam's international gateway airports.[8][9] Due to increasing demand (about 1520% per annum), the airport has been continuously expanded by the Southern Airports Corporation.[9]

In 2010, Tan Son Nhat domestic terminal handled 8 million passengers which reached its maximum capacity. The airport reached its full capacity of 20 million passengers in 2013, two years earlier than predicted. Both domestic and international terminal are being expanded to meet the increasing demand. In December 2014, expansion for the domestic terminal was finished, boosting the terminal's capacity to 13 million passengers per annum.[10] In September 2017, People's Army of Vietnam ceded 21 hectare of military land in the vicinity of the airport to Airports Corporation of Vietnam for civil use. This gave way for the construction of 21 new aircraft parking spaces, expected to be completed by Tet holidays in 2018. Tan Son Nhat will then have 72 parking spaces for airplanes.[11]

International terminal

A new international terminal funded by Japanese official development assistance and constructed by a consortium of four Japanese contractors (KTOM, abbreviation of four contractors' names: Kajima Taisei Obayashi Maeda), opened in September 2007 with an initially designed capacity of 10 million passengers a year.[12] In 2014, the terminal served over 9 million international passengers[13] and a demand of an expansion to the terminal was in sight. The first phase of an urgent expansion to the terminal was finished in December 2016 with an addition of 2 new jet bridges and other facilities.[14] Upon the completion of phase two, the terminal can handle 13 million passengers annually.[15]


Following the opening of its new international terminal in September 2007, Tan Son Nhat has two major terminal buildings with separate sections for international and domestic flights.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam, by Decision 1646/TTg-NN, has approved the addition of 40 hectares (99 acres) of adjacent area to extend the apron and to build a cargo terminal to handle the rapid increase of passenger (expected to reach 17 million in 2010, compared to 7 million and 8.5 million in 2005 and 2006 respectively) and cargo volume at the airport.[8][16]

Airlines and destinations

Aeroflot MoscowSheremetyevo
Air China BeijingCapital
Air France ParisCharles de Gaulle
AirAsia Johor Bahru, Kuala LumpurInternational, Penang
All Nippon Airways TokyoNarita
Asiana Airlines SeoulIncheon
Cambodia Angkor Air Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
Cebu Pacific Manila
China Airlines TaipeiTaoyuan
China Eastern Airlines Kunming, ShanghaiPudong
China Southern Airlines BeijingCapital, Guangzhou, ShanghaiPudong, Shenzhen, Wuhan[17]
Chongqing Airlines Chongqing[18]
Edelweiss Air Seasonal: Zürich (begins 15 November 2018)[19]
Emirates DubaiInternational
EVA Air TaipeiTaoyuan
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong
Japan Airlines TokyoHaneda, TokyoNarita
Jeju Air SeoulIncheon
Jetstar Airways Melbourne, Sydney
Jetstar Asia Airways Singapore
Jetstar Pacific Airlines BangkokSuvarnabhumi, Buon Ma Thuot, Chu Lai, Da Lat, Da Nang, Dong Hoi, Guangzhou, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Hue, Quy Nhon, Singapore, Thanh Hoa, Tuy Hoa, Vinh
Korean Air SeoulIncheon
Lao Airlines Pakse
LOT Polish Airlines Seasonal charter: WarsawChopin
Mahan AirSeasonal charter: Tehran-Imam Khomeini[20]
Malaysia Airlines Kuala LumpurInternational
Malindo Air Kuala LumpurInternational
Mandarin Airlines Taichung
Nok Air BangkokDon Mueang
Philippine Airlines Manila
Philippines AirAsia Manila
Qatar Airways Doha, Phnom Penh
Royal Brunei Airlines Bandar Seri Begawan
Scoot Singapore
Sichuan Airlines Nanning
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Spring Airlines ShanghaiPudong
Thai AirAsia BangkokDon Mueang
Thai Airways BangkokSuvarnabhumi
Thai Lion Air BangkokDon Mueang
Turkish Airlines IstanbulAtatürk
T'way Airlines SeoulIncheon
Vietjet Air BangkokSuvarnabhumi, Buon Ma Thuot, Chiang Mai, Chu Lai, Da Lat, Da Nang, Dong Hoi, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Hue, Kaohsiung, Kuala LumpurInternational, Nha Trang, OsakaKansai (begins 14 December 2018),[21] Phu Quoc, Pleiku, Qui Nhon, Phuket, SeoulIncheon, Singapore, Taichung, Tainan, TaipeiTaoyuan, Thanh Hoa, Vinh
Vietnam Airlines Buon Ma Thuot, BangkokSuvarnabhumi, Busan, Chengdu, Da Lat, Da Nang, Dong Hoi, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Guangzhou, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Hue, Hong Kong, JakartaSoekarnoHatta, Kaohsiung, Kuala LumpurInternational, LondonHeathrow, Melbourne, NagoyaCentrair, Nanning, Nha Trang, OsakaKansai, Phu Quoc, Pleiku, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Phnom Penh, Qui Nhon, Rach Gia, SeoulIncheon, ShanghaiPudong, Siem Reap, Singapore, Sydney, TaipeiTaoyuan, TokyoNarita, Thanh Hoa, Vinh, Yangon
Charter: Gaya
Vietnam Airlines
operated by VASCO
Ca Mau, Chu Lai, Con Dao, Tuy Hoa
XiamenAir Changsha,[22] Xiamen
Cathay PacificJakartaSoekarnoHatta, Hong Kong
China Airlines CargoAbu Dhabi, BangkokSuvarnabhumi, Luxembourg, Singapore, TaipeiTaoyuan
DHL Aviation
operated by Air Hong Kong
Hong Kong, Penang
FedEx ExpressGuangzhou, Hanoi, JakartaSoekarnoHatta
Korean Air CargoJakartaSoekarnoHatta, SeoulIncheon
MASkargoKuala LumpurInternational, Labuan, BangkokSuvarnabhumi
Raya AirwaysLabuan


Ground transportation

Bus and shuttle

A bus station is situated in front of the international terminal and is served by Ho Chi Minh City Bus. It is connected to the city center by bus line 109 and 152 as well as shuttle bus line 49. Connecting the airport to Vung Tau and other cities in Mekong Delta are express minibus services as well as bus line 119 (via Mien Tay Bus Station).[24]


The airport is expected to be served by Ho Chi Minh City Metro Line 4B, connected to Line 4 and 5 with services to the southern and eastern area of the city. However, it is currently not known when the line will be constructed.[25]


Traditional taxi brands such as Vinasun and Mai Linh operates at the airport alongside with rideshare service Grab.[26]


Until 2016, the airport only had one main access route via Truong Son Street, which caused chronic congestion for traffic going in and out of the airport. As an effort to ease traffic bottleneck, in August 2016, Pham Van Dong Boulevard officially opened and connected the airport to National Route 1A in an intersection east of the airport.[27]

Accidents and incidents

Throughout its history there have been several incidents that happened at the airport, some of the most notable are summarized below:

  • On 4 April, 1975, a Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, operated by the United States Air Force as part of Operation Babylift en route to Clark Air Base in the Philippines, crashed on approach during an emergency landing. Out of 328 people on board (311 passengers and 17 crew members), 155 people were killed.[28]
  • On 12 January, 1991, A Vietnam Airlines-operated Tupolev Tu-134, registration VN-A126, with 76 passengers on board crashed on final approach to Ho Chi Minh City. At 30 ft (9.1 m), the Tupolev suddenly lost height and landed hard, touched down with the left main gear first. There were no casualties but the aircraft was written off due to substantial damage beyond repair.[29]
  • On 4 September, 1992, Vietnam Airlines Flight 850, an Airbus A310-300 en route from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City, was hijacked by Ly Tong, a former pilot in the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. Tong proceeded to drop anti-communist leaflets over Ho Chi Minh City before parachuting out of an emergency exit. Vietnamese security forces arrested him on the ground two hours later. The aircraft landed safely, and no one on board was injured. [30]
  • On 20 November, 2014, the 3-unit uninterruptible power supply of Ho Chi Minh City Area Air Control Center went offline, causing a blackout to the center that oversees air traffic from and to Tan Son Nhat from 11.05AM to 12.19PM. This incident also disabled the radar system, halting air traffic control capabilities. Overall, 92 flights were affected, 54 of them were within Ho Chi Minh flight information region and 8 were preparing to land at Tan Son Nhat at the time of the incident. No air traffic accident occurred and operations fully resumed by noon the next day. [31]
  • On 22 April, 2017, Tan Son Nhat International Airport was the site of an alleged terrorist attack. Two remotely-controlled petrol bombs were planted at the airport, one in the International Terminal while the other was placed in the airport's parking garage. The bomb in the terminal failed to detonate due to internal sabotage. The bomb in the garage initially also failed to detonate because the activator was out of range. It was subsequently moved and set off in the International Terminal's departure hall where the first bomb was originally placed. No one was injured nor killed in the attack. A total of 15 people were arrested for involvement in the attack, according to the Vietnamese state media.[32]

Future plans

Long Thanh International Airport

Tan Son Nhat International Airport is located inside the crowded urban core of Ho Chi Minh City, making expansions difficult. In a report submitted to the Vietnamese National Assembly in 2015, legislators deemed continued expansion of Tan Son Nhat problematic in five aspects. Firstly, it would be more economically viable to build a new airport rather than extensively upgrade Tan Son Nhat. An estimated 9.1 billion USD was reportedly needed for a new 4,000 m runway, a new passenger terminal and other facilities at Tan Son Nhat. Secondly, Tan Son Nhat airspace overlaps with that of Bien Hoa Airport, which is currently reserved for national defense purpose. A reduction in military activities in Bien Hoa is considered to be temporary and unsustainable. At the same time, Tan Son Nhat also acts as a strategic location in national defense; therefore, the airport cannot be used entirely for civic air transport. Additionally, due to its urban location, aside from increasing ground traffic stress in its access points, the airport cannot operate between midnight and 5AM in accordance to the International Civil Aviation Organization sustainable development goals, further limiting its capability.[33]

Following Decision 703/Q-TTg by the Vietnamese Prime Minister in July 2005, a new airportLong Thanh International Airportwas planned to replace Tan Son Nhat airport for international departure use.[34] The initial master plan for the new airport was publicly announced in December 2006.[35] The new airport will be built in Long Thành District, ng Nai Province, about 40 km (25 mi) east of Ho Chi Minh City and 65 km (40 mi) north of the petroleum-focused city of Vung Tau, near Highway 51A.

According to the approved modified plan in 2011, Long Thanh International Airport will be constructed on an area of 50 square kilometers (19 sq mi), and will have four runways (4,000 m x 60 m or 13,100 ft x 200 ft) and be capable of receiving the Airbus A380. The project will be divided in three stages. Stage One calls for the construction of two parallel runways and a terminal with a capacity of 25 million passengers per year, due to be completed in 2020. Stage Two is scheduled for completion in 2030, giving the airport three runways, two passenger terminals and a cargo terminal designed to receive 1.5 million metric tons of cargo and 50 million passengers per year. The final stage is scheduled to be initiated after 2035, envisioned to handle 100 million passengers, 5 million metric tons of cargo annually on an infrastructure of 4 runways and 4 passenger terminals. The total budget for the first stage alone was estimated to be 6.7 billion USD.[34]


Because Long Thanh will not be ready for service until at least 2025, Tan Son Nhat must expand to meet the increasing demand. In January 2017, Airport Design and Construction Consultancy (ADCC) presented 3 proposals to expand the airport. Vietnams Deputy Prime Minister Trnh ́nh Dng agreed to proceed a US$860 million upgrade proposal for final review before submitting to the government. Under the chosen proposal, there would be a new mixed-use Terminal 3 and a civil-use Terminal 4 (to be built on the south side of the airport), a parallel taxiway between the existing runways and technical hangars on the northeast. The estimated time to complete the upgrade would be 3 years and the airport would then have a capacity of 43-45 million passengers annually.[36] The decision was controversial due to the fact that the golf course immediately north of SGN would remain untouched despite the urgent need of airport expansion.[37] The Minister of Transport Trng Quang Ngha explained that the airport could not be expanded northward due to costs and environmental impact.[38] On June 12, 2017, Prime Minister Nguyn Xuân Phúc requested the Ministry of Transport to research the prospect of constructing a third runway at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The French consulting company ADP Ingénierie (ADPi) was subsequently hired to provide a second opinion for the project.

In March 2018, ADPi presented their plan for the expansion. The firm advised against the construction of a third runway and supported a southward expansion plan. Without a new runway, Tan Son Nhat has a maximum capacity of 51 million passengers per year - a number ADPi predicted SGN to reach in 2025, in time for the opening of Long Thanh.[39] However, an independent consultancy of Ho Chi Minh City believed it could reach up to 80 million by the time Long Thanh was supposed to open, in accordance with reports by Boeing or the International Air Transport Association. As such, they proposed a three-phase northward expansion plan that would see a new runway and two new terminals to increase the airport's capacity to 70 million passengers per year.[40]

On March 28, 2018, Prime Minister Nguyn Xuân Phúc ultimately selected the ADPi proposal as the basis for the expansion of the airport. This proposal includes a new Terminal 3 with a designed capacity of 20 million passengers per year south of Runway 07R/25L, additional facilities in the north area where a golf court currently occupies as well as improvements and constructions of access points for the airport.[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Cng HKQT Tân Sn Nht: Top 10 sân bay vi nng lc phc v 30-40 triu khách/nm tt nht th gii". Airports Corporation of Vietnam (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  2. ^ a b "ACV: Hi ngh tng kt công tác nm 2016 và trin khai k hoch nm 2017". ACV. 20 January 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  3. ^ "M rng Tân Sn Nht: Ti sao không?" (in Vietnamese). 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  4. ^ Pan Am System Timetable, April 29, 1973
  5. ^ Christian, J. Scott, former Continental employee and manager, Bring Songs to the Sky: Recollections of Continental Airlines, 19701986, Quadran Press, 1998.
  6. ^ United Airlines Flight Timetables, Download to PC, PDA or Blackberry
  7. ^ Official number from Tan Son Nhat Airport Authority at its official website
  8. ^ a b Two more Hanoi<>Saigon flights per day for Pacific Airlines on "Vietnamnet.net, access date 11 November 2007, (in Vietnamese) [1]
  9. ^ a b News about Tan Son Nhat International Airport on Official Website of Ministry of Transport of Vietnam, 12 November 2007, Vietnamese Archived 12 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Sân bay Tân Sn Nht tng nng lc phc v". nld.com.vn. Ngi Lao ng. Retrieved 7 January 2015. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  11. ^ "Tân Sn Nht sp có thêm 21 ch u máy bay". VNExpress. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  12. ^ Le, Nam. "Khánh thành nhà ga sân bay Tân Sn Nht". Tuoi Tre Online. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  13. ^ a b "2005 - 2014 Statistics of Tan Son Nhat Intl Airport". Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  14. ^ Dinh, Tuan. "Nhà ga quc t Tân Sn Nht m rng 8.780 m2". Vietnamnet. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  15. ^ "2.300 t ng m rng ga quc t sân bay Tân Sn Nht". VNExpress. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  16. ^ Two more HanoiSaigon flights per day for Pacific Airlines on "Vietnamnet.net, access date 11 November 2007, (in English) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  17. ^ https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/279741/china-southern-adds-wuhan-ho-chi-minh-city-from-late-july-2018/
  18. ^ "Chongqing Airlines launches Ho Chi Minh City service starting April". Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ https://twitter.com/aviationirancom/status/969210933473050625
  21. ^ "Vietjet Air adds Ho Chi Minh City Osaka route from Dec 2018". routesonline. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  22. ^ "Xiamen Airlines schedules new SE Asia service in W18". routesonline. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  23. ^ Hng Hà. "Hi nn nhân ca máy bay chm chuyn, bn có bit nhng con s này?". soha.vn (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  24. ^ "M mi tuyn xe buưt Sân bay Tân Sn Nht Bn xe Min Tây". http://buyttphcm.com.vn/. Trung tâm Qun lư giao thông công cng Thành ph H Chí Minh. Retrieved 7 March 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  25. ^ "Metro Line 4B". Management Authority for Urban Railways. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  26. ^ Hng Châu (14 Dec 2017). "'Trn chin' sân bay ca taxi truyn thng và Uber, Grab". VNExpress.net. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  27. ^ Quoc Hung. "Entire route of Pham Van Dong Street opens to traffic". SGGP English Edition. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  28. ^ Accident description for 68-0218 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 3 June 2018.
  29. ^ Accident description for VN-A126 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 3 June 2018.
  30. ^ Accident description for VN850 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 3 June 2018.
  31. ^ "UPS failure behind blackout at Vietnam's biggest airport: official". Tuoi Tre News. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  32. ^ "Vietnam tries plotters of Tan Son Nhat bomb attack for terrorism". Tui Tr Online. December 26, 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Report 886/BC-UBTVQH13" (PDF) (in Vietnamese). Ministry of Justice (Vietnam). 2015-06-02. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  34. ^ a b "Decision 909/QD-TTg" (PDF). VGP News (in Vietnamese). Government Online News Portal of Vietnam. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  35. ^ Minh Kham. "Công b quy hoch cng Hàng không Long Thành". Tuoi Tre Online (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  36. ^ "Vietnam puts $860-million upgrade plan at Saigon airport on the runway". VNExpress International. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  37. ^ Thanh, Bùi. "T chuyn sân bay - sân golf: Cái ǵ nng hn ḷng dân?". Tui Tr Online (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  38. ^ Thu Hng; Hng Nh́. "M rng Tân Sn Nht v phía bc: Hoàn toàn không kh thi". Vietnamnet (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Planning row engulfs expansion of Vietnam's largest airport". VNExpress International. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  40. ^ Mai Hà. "M rng Tân Sn Nht: T vn TP.HCM ngc chiu t vn Pháp". Thanh Niên (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  41. ^ Anh Duy; Hoàng Thu; Hu Công. "Th tng quyt phng án m rng Tân Sn Nht v phía nam". VNExpress.net (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 14 May 2018.

External links

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