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SAC to open Highlands airport terminal tomorrow

Southern Airports Corp. (SAC) looks set to organize an opening ceremony for a new terminal at Buon Ma Thuot Airport in the Central Highlands province of Daklak tomorrow after nearly two years of construction.

The new terminal will help nearly quadruple passenger handling capacity at the airport, said SAC general director Nguyen Nguyen Hung. The old terminal receives only 100-120 passengers in a peak hour but the new facility is designed for up to 400 passengers in a peak hour or one million passengers a year, he said.

SAC began work on the new terminal of Buon Ma Thuot Airport in January 2010 at an initial construction cost of VND221 billion (over US$10.5 million). The two-story facility has total floor space of 7,200 square meters and can receive passengers and cargo from four mid-sized planes at a time.

The terminal project also comprises areas for services, restaurants, tourism information desks, taxi cabs, buses, flight information boards and vehicle parking, as well as auxiliary works for water and power supply.

Hung of SAC said the modern terminal would help better serve passengers on board domestic flights to and from Buon Ma Thuot Airport, and attract more business and leisure travelers to Buon Ma Thuot City and other parts of the province.

SAC said Buon Ma Thuot Airport now received some eight daily flights operated by Vietnam Airlines and Air Mekong from HCMC, Hanoi and Danang as well as extra services to Vinh on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and five flights from HCMC on Fridays and Saturdays.

Buon Ma Thuot Airport was opened in 1972 to military flights but upgraded in 1977 for civil services. From 2003 to 2004, SAC invested VND100 billion (US$4.76 million) in extending the runway at Buon Ma Thuot Airport to 3,000 meters long and 45 meters wide and the lighting system there for Airbus A320s, A321s and Boeing B737s to land and take off even at night.

SAC’s figures showed Buon Ma Thuot Airport handled 3,920 flights and nearly 262,500 passengers in 2010, up 42.33% and 28.65% respectively compared to 2009. The estimated number for this year exceeds 420,000 passengers.

SGT

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