Da Nang International Airport is located in Da Nang, the largest city in central Vietnam. It is the third international airport in the country, besides Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi) and Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City), and is an important gateway to access central Vietnam.
In addition to its civil aviation, the runway is shared with the Vietnamese People's Air Force although military activities are now extremely limited.
Situated on flat, sandy ground on the south side of the major port city of Da Nang, the area was ideal for an airfield, having unobstructed approaches to its north/south runways. Tourane Airport was built by the French colonial government in the 1930s as a civilian airport. During World War II, and the Japanese occupation of French Indochina, the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force used it as a military air base.
B-26C Serial 44-34109 of the French Air Force over Indochina, 1952. This aircraft was returned to the USAF Oct 1955 and scrapped.
After the war, the facility was used by the French Air Force during the French Indochina War (1945–1954). In 1953/54 the French laid a NATO-standard 7,800-foot asphalt runway at Tourane and stationed loaned American B-26s "Invaders" of the Groupe de Bombardement 1/19 Gascogne. In 1954 after the Geneva Peace Accords, these B-26's were returned to the United States.
In 1955, the newly-established Republic of Vietnam Air Force inherited from the French a token force of fifty-eight aircraft. These included a few squadrons of Cessna L-19 observation aircraft, C-47 transports and various utility aircraft. Tourane Airfiled was turned over to civilian use, with the South Vietnamese using facilities at Bien Hoa, Nha Trang and at Tan Son Nhut, near Saigon.
In 1957 the VNAF re-established a presence at the renamed Da Nang Airport, stationing the 1st Liaison Squadron with Cessna L-19s. The South Vietnamese Army also used Da Nang as a ranger training facility.
Air Vietnam also used the facility from 1951 to 1975 for civilian domestic and international flights within Southeast Asia.
During the Vietnam War (1959–1975), the facility was known as Da Nang Air Base, and was a major United States military base. Once little more than a provincial airfield, the facility was expanded to 2,350 acres with two 10,000-foot asphalt runways with concrete touchdown pads. parallel taxiways, and a heliport.
During the year 2006, Da Nang Airport counted one million passengers annually the first time since 1975 it had reached this level. By comparison, both the fourth-ranked Phu Bai Airport and fifth-ranked Cam Ranh Airport counted around 400,000 total passengers in the same year.
[Airlines and destinations:
Pacific Airlines inaugurated its daily flight between Da Nang and Hanoi in November 2005, giving domestic passengers an additional choice when flying between Da Nang and the capital, a route that had long been monopolized by Vietnam Airlines. At the beginning of 2008, Korean Air and Asiana Airlines announced the operation of summer charters between Seoul and Da Nang. Both carriers plan to convert this route to year-round regular scheduled service if this summer charter season proves to be successful.
TransAsia Airways started service between Taipei and Da Nang in December 2009 and China Southern Airlines began service between Guangzhou and Da Nang in January 2010, flights operate twice weekly. The Vietnamese Government is hoping to serve more flights, to destinations such as Phnom Penh, Hong Kong, Siem Reap, Japan, South Korea and Thailand after the construction of the new international terminal is complete in 2010.
Da Nang International Airport has two 10,000-foot paved, parallel runways capable of handling large, modern aircraft such as Boeing 747s, 767s and Airbus 320s. Traffic volume at Da Nang averages 100 to 150 flights every 24 hours. Annual traffic was circa 1.45 million in 2007 and is expected to reach four million by 2020.
A feasibility study for the renovation of the airport was partially sponsored by the United States Trade and Development Agency, and was completed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 2006. A new 20,000m² terminal, priced at USD $84 million with a capacity of 4 million passengers per year, is scheduled for completion in 2010. The new terminal will include five boarding gates, baggage handling systems, departure and arrivals areas, flight information display system common user terminal equipment fire detection systems and comprehensive public address and security systems, including screening equipment. Additionally, one of the airport's two runways will be extended from 3,048 metres to 3,500 metres citation needed Once this project is completed—after a total investment of USD $160 million—the airport will have a total capacity of six million passengers per year.