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Vietnam flaps its air-transport wings

Friday, 20 September 2013 02:53

Vietnam is pursuing its most flexible air transport policy in order to encourage more air carriers to operate in the country, a HCM City conference heard on September 10.

The conference on promotion for air services was organized by the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) and the Airport Corporation of Vietnam.

The ministry said that the domestic air transportation market is growing strongly in a healthy environment.

Vietnam will continue liberalising its aviation market gradually and sign bilateral and multilateral air service agreements as it further connects with aviation markets in the region and the world, it said.

Foreign airlines will be encouraged to operate in Vietnam, which will enhance the competitiveness of Vietnamese air carriers, it added.

Soaring markets

A major focus of the conference was to encourage airlines to operate from and to Phu Bai (Thua Thien-Hue province), Cam Ranh (Khanh Hoa province), Lien Khuong (Lam Dong province), Can Tho (Can Tho City) and Phu Quoc (Kien Giang province) international airports.

Towards this, their capacities and advantages will be highlighted and preferential policies issued, delegates agreed.

The red carpet is being laid out to welcome all airlines to Hue, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Can Tho and Phu Quoc. The result of the operations to and from these airports show that the aviation market in these areas is soaring, said Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Head of CAAV.

The load factors are very high (over 80%), with that on the flights to Phu Quoc reaching 90%, he added.

These five airports have many opportunities to develop as they have the common characteristics of being located in densely populated areas of the central coastal, Central Highlands and Mekong Delta regions, home to famous tourist destinations, great economic potential and rapid development of air transportation.

Delegates agreed that the airports have not made full use of the regions advantages.

Until now, only Cam Ranh Airport has international services operated by Vietnam Airlines to Moscow and non-scheduled services operated by Russian and Korean airlines.

Can Tho Airport only receives a few charter flights transporting Taiwanese passengers at certain times of the year.

It means that the actual operations of these five international airports do not match local potential and preferential aviation policies that the Government has issued, said Le Dinh Tho, Deputy Minister of Transport.

CAAV introduced several policies and measures to strengthen the operations of these airports. There is no capacity limitation on the third, fourth and fifth traffic freedom rights, even seventh traffic right for all cargo services, it noted.

It said all co-operative arrangement forms, including joint ventures, code-sharing and all types of operations including passenger/cargo scheduled and non-scheduled services will be allowed.

The Government will create a flexible policy for air navigation service charges and airports charges suitable for airlines operating at these five airports.

In specific cases, CAAV can consider and recommend to the appropriate authorities that airlines are given further privileges based on the business they bring to the airports.

Vietnamese air carriers are now operating services to 21 airports and aerodromes located in the plains, highland areas, border regions and islands from the north to the south of the country.

To date, there are 51 international routes established to and from Vietnam, and four Vietnamese air carriers operate 40 domestic routes.

In addition to the three major international airports of Noi Bai, Tan Son Nhat and Danang, the other five international airports have been rebuilt and expanded in order to increase their capacities for scheduled operations in general and international operations in particular, the conference heard.

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