HANOI, VIETNAM — The blueprint for a second airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, appears to have been fast-tracked, following an array of varying indications from the Vietnamese government over recent years.

In 2020, the Vietnamese Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism announced that planning for a secondary airport for the capital was underway, but also noted that the projects "will not be executed in the 2020-2030 period but before 2050".

While Vietnam enforced some of the most stringent travel measures during the height of the pandemic, it has since experienced one of the quickest recoveries in the region. Adding momentum to this recovery is the ongoing expansion of local carriers, with Vietnam Airlines (VN) establishing trans-Pacific connections to San Francisco (SFO) in 2021.

Private airlines Bamboo Airways (QH) and VietJet (VJ) have sustained their growth, with QH branching out into Europe during the pandemic with its Boeing 787 fleet. Additionally, VJ continues to capitalize on the thriving low-fare market in the country, utilizing its all-Airbus fleet.

The current Noi Bai (HAN) facility has served the city for more than forty years, but the city's rapid population growth has left little room for HAN to expand. A site for the potential second airport has yet to be determined, but the Ứng Hòa district, about 50km from the city center, has been reported as a possible location.

The Hanoi People’s Committee, the city's municipal administrative body, appears to be part of this most recent development, having submitted an expansion proposal to the Ministry of Transport. As of now, the National Assembly's response to this new proposal remains unclear.

This isn't the first time the city body has made such a move. In 2021, a plan proposing a second airport that would work in tandem with the existing facility, offering a combined capacity of up to 130 million passengers per year, was submitted to the Ministry of Transport.

It also seems that the Ministry of Transport has distanced itself from the potential Ứng Hòa site, suggesting that the Hanoi People’s Committee and the Ministry of Transport may have differing perspectives on how to create additional capacity. While the quick recovery from the pandemic has underscored the need for a second airport, it remains uncertain how open the national government will be to the Hanoi People’s Committee's acceleration of previously announced expansion plans.