Linking the skies with upgraded aviation infrastructure

October 08, 2022 | 14:42
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Several nations have devoted generations to constructing sophisticated aviation infrastructure as an economic launchpad. In Vietnam, plans are in the making to follow suit and upgrade the nation's airport infrastructure to serve the ever-increasing demand.
Capital enterprise stimulates the local economy: Lessons from the Global
New airport infrastructure is considered a must for local economic growth

Of the 22 airports operating around the nation, only Van Don International Airport is privately owned and managed. In order to fully exploit the benefits of Vietnam's rich and attractive natural environment, developing and constructing new airport infrastructure is a crucial link.

Phu Quoc is representative of the aviation industry's contribution to the local economy. Before being the first island city in Vietnam to grow with the aim of becoming Asia's premier economic and tourist hub, this location was an impoverished island district. Despite its proximity to several nations in the area and its advantageous position, the island has not prospered much via marine trade alone.

According to Phu Quoc People's Committee, around 300,000 people visited the district in 2010. In 2014, almost two years after Phu Quoc International Airport began operations, the island received over 600,000 tourists, including 125,000 international visitors, a 21.5 per cent increase over the same time period.

Phu Quoc's tourist earnings surpassed $92 million, surpassing 11 per cent of the goal and growing over 84 per cent from that of 2013. The ambition of receiving 7.8 million tourists and generating an income that is 2.3 times that of the previous year was not that far off.

Since the airport opened in 2012, the island has been constantly upgrading, luring large investors to operate and establish, and transforming the island's hidden and unspoiled beauty into a leading tourist destination in the region, ousting Bali and Phuket to host the wedding of an Indian billionaire.

In addition, there are other prospective tourist locations in Vietnam like Phu Quoc, particularly in mountainous regions like the northwest and the Central Highlands. These are all locations where several tourist attractions intersect.

However, due to the complex terrain, commerce with highland provinces like Son La, Dien Bien, Kon Tum, and Dak Nong still faces several challenges.

Capital enterprise stimulates the local economy: Lessons from the Global

Following international examples of advantageous infrastructure

In 1983, Turkey passed a law permitting private enterprises to handle airport and aviation services. The act opened the door to the aviation industry's prosperity.

According to the General Directorate of the State Airports Authority of Turkey (DHMI), the number of travellers in Turkey reached 45 million in 2004, a 30.7 per cent rise compared to the previous year, and the growth rate exceeded 23.3 per cent in 2005, reaching 55.5 million passengers.

According to DHMI 2005, the aviation sector produced 80,000 jobs and generated $300 million in income for ground service firms.

In 2004, 71.7 per cent of the total 17.5 million tourists to Turkey arrived by air, doubling the industry's earnings. In 2018, the aviation sector contributed $44.8 billion to Turkey's gross domestic product.

With the vital function of aviation infrastructure, Turkey intends to construct new airports at many crucial places in tourism and transportation to enhance income, raising the annual number of international travellers to Turkey to 202 million.

Elsewhere, France benefited from the aviation sector by constructing major airports not only in the capital and major cities but also in unique topographic areas. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the air transport sector, including airlines and their supply chains, contributes $87 billion to the economy.

France has five domestic and international airports, including Geneva, Grenoble-Isère, Annecy Haute-Savoie, Lyon Saint Exupéry, and Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc, that assist in linking travellers from across the globe to this renowned mountain range.

According to Vinci Airports, the Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc airport, which operates largely charter flights during the winter months and is busiest on weekends, received around 200,000 skiers in 2018.

Thanks to its excellent location, which minimises time compared to commuting by rail (about nine hours from London) or bus (20 hours), passing via Chambéry airport only takes more than one hour, hence contributing to a growth in British and Russian passenger numbers.

The Alps, famed for their gorgeous and upscale ski resorts such as Meribel, Courchevel, Tignes, and Val d'Isere, are the most obvious example. Every year, these premium resorts draw hundreds of thousands to millions of tourists and professionals.

In addition to examples such as Turkey and France, IATA figures from June 2022 indicate that aviation carries almost two billion people annually and accounts for 40 per cent of interregional export transactions (by value).

This demonstrates that the development of aviation infrastructure not only enhances the connection infrastructure and promotes tourism and transport, but also indirectly brings other values in terms of economic growth and social assistance, creates opportunities for thousands of labourers, and opens the door to a more sustainable local economy.

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By Quynh Trang

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