Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said asking passengers to arrive three hours at the airport early is evidence of weak management skills.
Passengers at Tan Son Nhat Airport
Tho discussed the problem with the Southern Airports Authority on January 11 about preparations for the Lunar New Year. "This must be organised again. If all the airlines want passengers to come three hours early then it's no better than living at the airport," he said.
Tan Son Nhat Airport authorities have advised passengers to arrive three hours before flight departure in the run-up to the Lunar New Year to avoid traffic jams and delays at check-in. Passengers are also advised to do check-in via web, mobile or check-in kiosks located near domestic terminal gates 1 and 2, besides checking in at counters.
They also suggested limiting the number of people coming to the airport to pick or see off passengers.
"Advising passengers to arrive at the airport three hours early isn’t a good thing. This shows weak management and that we can't regulate the traffic," he said. "Airliners should discuss and co-operate to deal with problems."
He went on to say that close collaboration with traffic police was the key to ease congestion around the airport. He advised all agencies to share information and develop a close cooperation.
Director of Southern Airports Authority Tran Doan Mau said the number of passengers and flights would increase by 19.6% compared to previous Lunar New Year. There are 776 flights scheduled with 113,000 passengers at Tan Son Nhat Airport two days before Tet, an increase of 141 flights compared to the same period last year.
Hoang Van Thu Street near Tan Son Nhat airport sees serious congestion in recent days.
Mau said they had installed more check-in counters and detectors to serve passengers. In addition, he had asked the city police deal with congestion on the route to the airport.
Director of Tan Son Nhat Airport Dang Tuan Tu agreed and said the congestion mostly occurred from 10 am to noon and from 4 pm to 6 pm. According to Tu, congestion wasn't caused by rising number of passengers, but because of weak infrastructure and increasing traffic on Truong Son Street. He proposed to remove the median on Tran Quoc Toan Street to create more space for traffic.
Bui Xuan Cuong, director of HCM City's Department of Transport said the situation this year was less serious and they would be able to quickly deal with congestion around the airport that are mostly caused by flooding and accidents.
Cuong proposed to close a taxi parking lot on Truong Son Street and the airlines ask to increase security staff.