The Hanoitimes - Dien Bien province proposed an airport upgrade in order to ensure that through 2020, the A320, A321 and equivalent airplanes may be put into operation instead of the current ATR 72 aircraft.
Chairman of the Dien Bien Provincial People's Committee, Mua A Son, gave the above recommendation at a meeting with the Ministry of Transport.
The Chairman suggested that the Ministry of Transport sends the Government a proposal on priority to add, to the current government project list, the Dien Bien airport rehabilitation and upgrade project with total investment capital of VND2,146 billion (US$94.424) from the central government’s budget.
Dien Bien Phu Airport.
Another alternative put forth by the Chairman of the Dien Bien Provincial People's Committee is that the Ministry of Transport reports to the Government the mechanism to attract investment in the form of public-private partnership. The above proposal is based on the decision issued by the Ministry of Transport in 2017 that approves the readjustment of Dien Bien airport detailed plan.
Accordingly, in the period up to 2020, Dien Bien airport will be upgraded to 3C airport and military class II airfield, with the capacity to serve 300,000 passengers per year, to operate A320, A321 and similar aircraft.
In 2017, Dien Bien airport completed about 1,200 flights, transporting about 70,000 passengers; however, the number of flights and passengers has been decreasing since the beginning of 2018, according to Director of National Aviation Administration Dinh Viet Thang.
Causes of the decline in capacity include complicated weather conditions, and equipment and appliances that do not meet operation requirements in bad weather. Dien Bien airport currently has only two flights per day hence Vietnam Airlines wants to cancel the flight to Dien Bien due to the operation effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.
Dien Bien welcomed 600,000 visitors, including 120,000 foreigners, in 2017, up 25% and 71.4% against 2016. Total revenue from tourism was VND960 billion (US$42.3 million), a 34% year-on-year increase, according to Dien Bien Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Together with beautiful nature and rich culture, Dien Bien also retains a wide range of historical sites from the victory against the French at its provincial capital, Dien Bien Phu, in 1954.
The underground bunker of French General Christian De Castries serves as eloquent evidence of the bravery of Vietnamese troops, who fought incessantly for 54 days and nights to seize it. The historical monument has been well preserved and maintains its original shape, dimensions, and structure.
Hill A1 played a critical role in the battle at Dien Bien Phu. Standing atop Hill A1 while hearing the details of the 1954 campaign provides a sense of what occurred, while visiting the cemeteries of Vietnamese soldiers from the campaign is a moving experience.
Another key site of historical interest is the command post of the Vietnamese military hidden inside the forests of Muong Phang commune, where renowned General Vo Nguyen Giap and his officers planned the glorious Dien Bien Phu Victory.
Muong Thanh Airfield, Doc Lap Hill, Him Lam Hill, the Dien Bien Phu Victorious Statue, and the Dien Bien Phu Victory Museum are also well worth visiting.