HA NOI - Ha Noi opened three new infrastructure projects yesterday to facilitate transport to the city's main airport. Terminal 2 (T2) at Noi Bai International Airport was officially put into operation, connected to the city centre by Nhat Tn, the country's largest cable-stayed bridge, and a new highway which has been named after Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary general who died in 2013.
Le Manh Hung, director general of the Airports Corporation of Viet Nam (ACV), said that the completion of the new international passenger terminal would increase handling capacity and overloading on the old terminal.
Hung said that travel through the airport had increased rapidly, where 36 international airlines operated with an average of more than 340 flights per day.
"The airport served more than 11.3 million passengers and over 282,600 tonnes of cargo in 2012. In 2014, the figures increased to 14.3 million of passengers and 355,000 tonnes of cargo," he said.
Terminal 2 (T2) at Noi Bai International Airport was officially put into operation yesterday, connected to the city centre by Nhat Tan, the country's largest cable-stayed bridge, and a new highway named after Vo Nguyen Giap, the legendary general who died in 2013.
As a result, the old terminal, which would cater only for domestic flights now, was overloaded, especially during peak times, which seriously affected the quality of services, Hung said.
To meet the increasing demand of passengers, ACV started the construction of the T2 in 2011 with a total investment of nearly US$1 billion (S$1.33 billion) from Japanese official development assistance (ODA).
The terminal was constructed by Taisei-Vinaconex with help from the Japan Airport Consultant. Its handling capacity is 10 million passengers per year and is expected to expand to 15 million.
Hung said the first flight from the new terminal departed for Singapore on December 25, 2014 on a trial run, and all international flights had been operating at T2 from the start of the year.
So far, 74,400 passengers have arrived and departed from the new terminal on 595 flights.
Japanese citizen Rie Watanabe was among the very first passengers to experience the new terminal before its official opening.
She said she enjoyed a warm welcome to Ha Noi after returning from a two week holiday in Japan on Saturday.
"The new airport terminal is nice, the facilities are modern and the staff are helpful and friendly," she said, adding that she received detailed guidance from staff through immigration control, baggage claim, customs clearance, arrival hall and taxi pick-up.
"The thing that struck me the most was the smiling faces of the airport staff. I hope they carry on doing that because it is the very first impression many people get of Viet Nam," she added.
Together with T2, Noi Bai International Airport also opened a new VND300 billion (S$18.7 million) executive building to serve VIP guests yesterday.
Located to the south of the airport, Nhat Tan Bridge which is the seventh crossing over the Hong (Red) River, connects the districts of Tay Ho and Dong.
Nguyen Van Thuan, a 96-year-old resident from Dong Anh District's Vinh Ngoc Commune, said that he and many neighbours woke up early yesterday to attend the opening ceremony of the new cable-stayed Nhat Tan Bridge. "We were very excited to find out that a new bridge will link this district with the city centre some years ago, so everyone wanted to attend the ceremony," he said.
Located to the south of the airport, Nhat Tan Bridge which is the seventh crossing over the Hong (Red) River, connects the districts of Tay Ho and Dong. It has shortened the travel time from the city centre to the airport by half as well as ease the burden on other bridges.
The bridge, which is also called the Viet Nam-Japan Friendship Bridge, creates a new route to the airport which is only 15km, instead of the current 30km route over Thang Long Bridge. The bridge spans 3km and leads to the 12km Vo Nguyen Giap Highway to the airport.
Nhat Tan Bridge is a part of the city's 43.6 kilometre Ring Road 2.
Construction of the project started in 2009, and the six-lane bridge sits on five 110m-high pylons, which symbolise the five gates of Ha Noi.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong, said the pylons were supported on steel pipe sheet pile foundations, a leading global technology which was first applied in Viet Nam.
It had the third highest number of long-cable-stayed spans in the world, he said.
Connecting the bridge to the airport, the six-lane Vo Nguyen Giap Highway had an investment of VND6.7 trillion ($321 million), also from Japanese ODA.
Japanese Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Akihiro Ohta said the newly-opened constructions were symbols of the friendship and co-operation between Viet Nam and Japan.
He said the completion of the projects would create favourable conditions for more Vietnamese people to travel the world and at the same time help more foreign guests visit Viet Nam.
Speaking at the opening ceremonies, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai praised the efforts of local authorities, investors and contractors in site clearance, resettlement and construction to ensure their completion on time.
He urged the Ministry of Transport to work with relevant ministries and sectors to use the new projects to serve public interests. He also thanked the Japanese partners, and said the ODA had been used effectively.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also inspected the preparations for the launch of the projects.