The Airport of Phu Quoc Island: From a Military Air Base to a Civil Airport
A boiling commerce of the island led to a necessity for an airport, and it was built in 1930 by the French. It was rather small and consisted of a one store building and a runway strip 996 meters long.
During the Vietnam war, the Americans used the airport on Phu Quoc island as their military airbase. The island itself was turned into a prison for Vietnam prisoners of war, and according to some estimates, 40 thousand of them were imprisoned then on the island.
Vietnam’s economic growth and commerce development on the island led to a necessity of lengthening the runway to 1496 meters. Its substantial strengthening became another milestone in the development of the airport. At the same time, a taxiway 148.5 meters long was built and an aircraft parking area covering 120 x 60 meters was added.
The reconstruction continued in the year of 1995. A new passenger terminal building of the airport was put into operation.
More than 970 million dollars were spent for the last reconstruction. A new runway, able to accept middle-class passenger airliners like Airbus A350 or as Boeing 747, was put into operation. Its size is 3000 x 50 meters. The airport with its all infrastructure occupies an area of 8 square kilometers. The carrying capacity of the airport is more than 7 million passengers for every year. Tourists that come from all corners of the world are met by a modern air hub.
The new airport is situated in the center of the island, 10 kilometers from the existing Phu Quoc local airport.
Code (IATA): PQC. Code CAO: VVPQ.
Address: city community of Duong Dong, island district Phu Quoc, Kien Giang province.
Time Zone GMT (winter/summer): +7/+7.
Geographical coordinates: latitude (10.17), longitude (103.99).
There is an option when tourists fly to Hanoi or to Ho Chi Min by regular flights. The information may be requested on the skyscanner.com, for example. And then, from those cities, they can use some local companies flying to the island.
Vietnam Airlines performs flights to Phu Quoc from the following Vietnam cities:
- Ho Chi Minh City;
- Hai Phong.
The routes change depending on the season. Local companies offer rather democratic prices for their air tickets. Using their services, it’s possible to travel to other parts of Vietnam or even visit neighboring countries.
Tourists don’t have to have visas if their stay doesn’t exceed 15 days and nights. At arrival, a special mark with the date of arrival and the date until it’s necessary to leave Vietnam is put in passports.
The aircraft is coming to the international terminal. In the airport building, it’s possible to exchange currency (and the exchange rate is quite profitable) and to get a SIM card providing an Internet connection.
At the exit of the building, you’ll find a shuttle bus stop and by one of the shuttles, you can get to the terminal serving local flights. It’ll take you no more than 10 minutes. The cost of a ride on a shuttle or on a bus №86 (its stop is situated at the same place to the left from the terminal exit) is about 30 – 50 VND. In the local airlines terminal, you should come to the registration desk and give your passport and ticket to be checked (an electronic ticket is also possible). Then you go through the usual procedures as at any other airport.
If you are successfully through all the procedures it’s possible to catch the flight of the Vietjetair company:
- Departure is at the 11.20 (Hanoi), arrival is at 13.30 (Phu Quoc island).
It’s possible to take another flight:
- Departure is at the 15.45 (Hanoi), arrival is at 17.55 (Phu Quoc island).
Or you could fly the next day:
- Departure is at the 7.05 (Hanoi), arrival s at 09.15 (Phu Quoc island).
Arrival to the Airport and hotel transfer
The aircraft lands on the runway surrounded by vivid green hills. As in any large airport, passengers are offered to get to the arrival area by bus. During the short time while the luggage is being unloaded it is possible to exchange currency in a cash machine. It won’t be as easy on the island.
It is possible to get to the hotel either hiring a taxi at the airport’s exit or having ordered a transfer at the hotel in advance.
Motor-taxis are quite popular in Vietnam and if you don’t have a lot of luggage, you can, without any doubts, use one of them as it’ll be less expensive than hiring an ordinary car.
The area of the island is not large and the popular Long Beach is just 7 kilometers from the airport.
The cost of the transfer shouldn’t be more than 100-200 VND so don’t be shy to haggle. Taxi is paid by the meter from 13000 VND per 1 kilometer or you pay a negotiated price.
Alternatively, you can rent a car with a driver or even a bike. As well, it’s convenient to get around the island by bicycle.
It has a typical for a modern airport layout. It has enough light, is clean and air conditioners work there. Toilet rooms are equipped with swaddle tables. The airport is also suitable for people with disabilities.
From the terminal’s second floor a panorama on the runway and surroundings opens. You can spend time in one of the comfortable modern cafes with a cup of wonderful Vietnam coffee and use free Wi-Fi while waiting for your flight.
Also, the airport internet kiosk sells cards of the main Vietnam mobile operators, such as Mobifone, Viettel or Vinaphone. There isn’t any internet roaming around the country so if you buy a card in, say, Ho Chi Min, you can use it on the island too and the cost will be the same. The quality of the Internet is good on the whole territory of Vietnam.
The airport information board with live updates of arrivals and departures is clearly seen from any point of the waiting hall. The board uses the local time.
The interior style of the airport is typical f of all modern airports of the country and when you are inside, you can hardly tell one airport from another. All the signs are written in English and Vietnamese.
Numerous souvenir shops offer their goods.
Due to its spacious halls, the airport doesn’t seem overcrowded. There are two kinds of waiting halls there: the first is an economy class and the second is with soft seats, showers, and rooms for rest. The more comfortable hall has to be paid for so at its entrance you have to buy a pass.
It’s important to know that the waiting halls are not intended for overnight staying. If there is a need for spending a night, then using the service of one of the nearest hotels would be a better option.
Information Service of the Airport
While you are at the airport, the information service can answer any of your questions concerning your flight or try to resolve your problem, be it a pram rental or currency exchange. Also, right in the kiosk, it’s possible to rent a car and to find a solution if you need some accommodation at one of the nearby hotels. They can also explain to you the policies of the companies flying to Phu Quoc. Among other things, you can find out their luggage regulations including hand luggage restrictions, onboard meals etc. And, of course, the information desk staff will help you to understand the flights schedule.
It’s also possible to use the Internet for getting information about flights.
The board says that at the moment the following companies have flights to the island:
- Vietnam Airlines: (https://www.vietnamairlines.com/)
- Vietjet Air (https://www.vietjetair.com/Sites/Web/en-US/Home)
- China Southern (http://www.csair.com/en/)
- Jetstar Pacific Airlines (http://www.jetstar.com/vn/en/home)
- Asiana Airlines (http://ru.flyasiana.com/C/ru/main.do)
It’s possible to save considerably on the tickets by buying them in advance on the company’s site. The price difference between travel documents bought a month or a week before the flight can be as high as 30%.