Phu Bai Airport in Thua Thien-Hue Province is expected to be closed for 8 months for runway repair, which could seriously hurt the province’s tourism sector, said the Vietnam Airlines Corporation (VAC).
The closure will likely be made from March to November 2013, according to a message issued by VAC to the provincial People’s Committee yesterday, said Le Truong Luu, deputy chairman of the committee.
Last year, the airport was also closed for one month from May to June for repairing the two ends of the runway to make it safer for aircraft in taking off or landing.
This time, the repair will focus on the remaining parts of the runway that have deteriorated.
The closure will substantially affect the province’s economic development, especially the growth of the tourism sector, Luu said, adding that local travel companies may have to use Da Nang Airport in Da Nang City as a temporary replacement.
Nguyen Hang Quy, director of Huong Giang International Travel Company, said the 8-month shutdown will seriously affect the operation of tourism companies not only during the time but also after that.
“After such a long time of non-operation, it is very difficult for travel companies to attract travelers, including foreign ones, to Hue again,” Quy explained.
Nguyen Xuan Ky, Hue chief representative of Vidotour, a Ho Chi Minh City-based tour provider, warned that the total economic damage caused by the airport’s closure may be equal to the cost of building a new runway for the airport.
In order to relieve the impact on the province’s economic growth, local authorities have proposed that VAC reduce the repair duration to six months, Luu said.