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Vietnam’s Da Nang airport welcomes 5 millionth passenger in 2014

The Da Nang International Airport had a sweet three-year anniversary as it welcomed its five millionth passenger in 2014 on Tuesday.

The special passenger was Tran Minh Thinh, who is the director of a steel company. Thinh arrived at the US$63.31 million airport in Da Nang City, an economic hub in central Vietnam, on VietJet Air flight VJ511 from Hanoi.

The no-frills carrier grabbed the opportunity to present Thinh with free flights for a whole year, the airline said in a press release.

Two passengers who followed the five millionth one, Japanese tourist Yasuda Takenori and Vietnamese national Nguyen Thi Thuy Ly, received a round trip ticket to Singapore from VietJet Air, according to the airline.

Thinh said he was “really surprised and delighted to be the five millionth passenger,” and thanked the airline and the airport “for this wonderful gift.”

VietJet Air business development director Desmond Lin, meanwhile, said the carrier “congratulates the vigorous development of Da Nang International Airport in terms of services and facilities.”

“We are wholeheartedly committed to adding more flights to Da Nang to meet growing travel demand while enhancing trade and tourism relations between Da Nang and other provinces,” he said.

“We aim to push far beyond the number of five million passengers in coming years.”

Da Nang International Airport, commissioned on December 25, 2011, is the third largest airport in Vietnam.

The airport posted a 16 percent year-on-year increase of passengers this year, while the number of international passengers landing at the terminal reached 900,000, up 53 percent from 2013.

In 2013 Da Nang airport received 4.5 million passengers, standing third behind Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which handled 20 million passengers, and Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, which served 12 million travelers, according to the Ministry of Transport.

On October 31, Le Xuan Tung, director of Da Nang airport, claimed to local media that his airport had been ranked among the best in the world by Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Limited, which operates as Dragonair.

Tan Son Nhat only stood in 19th place out of the 96 airports surveyed by Dragonair, while Noi Bai was not listed, according to Tung.

But Tuoi Tre News was then unable to find any information on the survey on Dragonair’s website.

The news was immediately spread by local media, hailing the Da Nang terminal for “saving face” for Vietnamese airports, after the country’s two major terminals, Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat, were listed among theworst in Asia by The Guide to Sleeping in Airports, an airport review website.

The Da Nang airport is expected to have its infrastructure upgraded to be able to handle 10 million per year by 2020, with an annual growth rate of 15 percent.