06 Dec 2018 ♦

Tan Son Nhat Airport in the Last100 years

August 4 2017, 8 Comments

Located in the village, on the highest mound of Saigon, Tan Son Nhat airport in the early 20th century was only a runway of land with the grass around.

Situated about 8 km from north of Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (in Tan Binh District) is an important traffic hub of the South region. By 2015, the airport serves more than 26.5 million passengers and is in the group of the 50 most popular airports in the world.

According to the book "French Colonialism on the land" of Nam Ky, Tan Son Nhut (former name) before 1919 was the name of a village on the high mound of the north of Saigon since Nguyen Huu Canh explored and built the land of Saigon - Gia Dinh. About administrative boundaries, the village was in Tan Binh district, Gia Dinh province and adjacent to Tan Son Nhi, Hanh Thong Tay, and Phu Nhuan … which are now the names of places in the city.

In 1920, when the French fleet was formed, the French colonial government took most of the area of Tan Son Nhut to build the airport. The name of the village was also the name of the airport since that time. The rest of the small village is not qualified to set up their own village, so it and Chi Hoa village gathered in Tan Son Hoa village.

Initially, Tan Son Nhut Airport had a runway, ground, and it was surrounded by grass for military use only. In 1921, the first Hanoi-Saigon direct flight was opened. The flight lasted 8 hours 30 minutes.

In 1930, Saigon authority wanted to expand the airport for civilian purposes, but the price of land around the airport skyrocketed. Therefore, they didn’t have enough budget to compensate. Another idea was to build another airport in Cat Lai, Thu Duc with 1,400m for each side.

After that, the world economic crisis made this plan be canceled. The authorities then returned to compensate for the expansion of Tan Son Nhut Airport. By the end of 1933, the first international flight of French Airways (Air France) from Paris to Saigon (did not fly at night) took a week to land Tan Son Nhat. After that, many other international routes were opened. By 1937, the Governor of Indochina established the Civil Aviation Department of Indochina to replace the Civil Aviation Department, and to handle the flight.

When entering Vietnam, the United States built a wider airport, more than 3,000 meters long, with concrete instead of the French red soil road. The new airport serves both the US Air Force and the Saigon government as a base.

According to an aviation specialist, before 1975, Tan Son Nhat had the highest number of flights per day in Southeast Asia. The land fund for the long-term development of the airport was about 3,600 hectares, three times as much as the land area of Changi Airport in Singapore.

Nowadays, the airport has only about 1,500 hectares, of which 850 hectares are for civil use, the rest is managed by the Ministry of Defense. In this army land, there are 160 hectares for golf course and service. By the end of 2015, the Ministry of Defense is ready to cede 20 ha of land in the airport area to the Ministry of Transport to expand Tan Son Nhat, but so far the handover has not been completed.