Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport is the busiest airport in Vietnam with 32.5 million passengers in 2016 and 38.5 million passengers in 2018. It serves Ho Chi Minh City as well as the rest of southeastern Vietnam. The airport’s IATA code, SGN, is derived from the city’s former name of Saigon.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport has its origins in the early 1930s when the French colonial government constructed a small airport with unpaved runways, known as Tân Sơn Nhứt Airfield near the village of Tan Son Nhut. By mid-1956, with U.S. aid, a 7,200-foot runway had been built; the airfield near Saigon became known as South Vietnam’s principal international gateway. During the Vietnam War (or Second Indochina War), Tan Son Nhut Air Base was an important facility for both the U.S. Air Force and the Republic of Vietnam Air Force. Between 1968 and 1974, Tan Son Nhut Airport was one of the busiest military airbases in the world. On 9 December 2004, United Airlines became the first U.S. airline to fly to Vietnam since Pan Am’s last flight during the Fall of Saigon in April 1975.
In 2010, Tan Son Nhat domestic terminal handled 8 million passengers, its maximum capacity. The airport reached its full capacity of 20 million passengers in 2013, two years earlier than predicted. Both domestic and international terminal are being expanded to meet the increasing demand. In December 2014, expansion for the domestic terminal was finished, boosting the terminal’s capacity to 13 million passengers per annum. In September 2017, People’s Army of Vietnam ceded 21 hectare of military land in the vicinity of the airport to Airports Corporation of Vietnam for civil use. This gave way for the construction of 21 new aircraft parking spaces, expected to be completed by Tet holidays in 2018. Tan Son Nhat will then have 72 parking spaces for airplanes.
Of the routes the airport offers, the Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi route is the busiest in Southeast Asia and the seventh busiest in the world, serving 6,769,823 customers in 2017.