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Airlines circle central region, enhancing tourism

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Opening more flights in the central region will enhance tourism and investment, and hasten economic development, experts have said.
Vietnam Airlines had recognised the demand and had added flights from HCMC and Hanoi to two airports in central Vietnam. They are Vinh Airport in Nghe An Province and Phu Cat Airport in Binh Dinh Province. In addition to the Chu Lai and HCMC flights beginning on June 2, Vietnam Airlines will launch a Chu Lai-Hanoi route, which should be advantageous for the Chu Lai Economic Zone in central Quang Nam Province.
International airlines from Russia and the Republic of Korea have also opened direct flights to Cam Ranh International Airport in central Nha Trang City, he said.
Agencies in the central region are hastening to upgrade the infrastructure of airports to meet demand for air travel. A project to widen Phu Cat Airport in Binh Dinh Province, for instance, is expected to be completed by September. Once finished, the airport will be able to receive more flights and serve more passengers.
Under the Government's revised zoning plan for international airports, the country will have 10 international airports by 2015, four of which are in Phu Bai, Danang, Chu Lai and Cam Ranh.
Currently, Chu Lai airport is seeking investors to expand its runway and other facilities so that it can meet grade 4E standards of the international Civil Aviation Organisation. It is projected to receive 4.1 million passengers by 2015.
Danang International Airport is also being upgraded to receive two million passengers by next year and four million passengers a year by 2015.
By 2015, international airports in the region are expected to receive a combined 16 million passengers, which will allow localities to exploit their advantages in transportation, tourism and business, Hung said.
Seven airports in the central region received a total of nearly 4,200 flights during the first quarter of the year, an increase of 12% over the same period last year, he said.
Also the number of passengers travelling through airports in the central region increased by 15% to nearly 1.3 million, the volume of goods handled at airports went up by 63%.