Transport Minister urges more research on Hanoi-HCM direct air route

Thursday, 2014-09-11 12:52:39
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Transport Minister Dinh La Thang speaks at the meeting.
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Nhan Dan – Minister of Transport, Dinh La Thang, on September 10 chaired a meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), carriers, and air traffic management authorities on trial results of the projected Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City air route through Laos and Cambodia.

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According to head of the CAAV, Lai Xuan Thanh, a flight simulator (SIM) test run a week ago by the CAAV in co-operation with Vietnam Airlines, on a potential flight route from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport to Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City−including over Laos and Cambodia−showed that the total length of the route was 1,191km. The flight is 85km shorter than the current one, saves five minutes of flying time and 190kg of fuel.

Experts from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) confirmed the accuracy of the test result.

Thanh also said that there were three problems that needed to be solved while traveling through Lao and Cambodian airspace. The first is flying altitude. Proposed flights through Laos are only allowed at FL240-FL280, which is fuel-inefficient. Therefore, it is necessary to negotiate on a more optimal flight level at FL350 (over 10,000 metres). Secondly, airspace and air routes will go straight through Hanoi’s no-fly zone, and flight training areas, at Tho Xuan, Vinh, Cat Bi, and Bien Hoa airports. The third is the cost for ensuring flight operations through the airspace of the two neighbouring countries would be negotiated to be reduced.

According to Dinh Viet Thang, General Director at Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation, the crux of the route was flight altitude. If the problem was solved, the efficiency would be ensured, he said.

He also proposed setting a one-way route from the South to the North to reduce congestion and pressure on air traffic. The reverse way from north to south should be kept unchanged as at present.

Phan Xuan Duc, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, said that the carrier has adjusted 20 air routes over the past five years, saving 4,300 flight hours. Though being shortened by only five minutes, it is still important for the newly proposed Hanoi-HCM City air route to go through. However, to ensure safety and economic efficiency, Duc affirmed the need to have consensus with Laos and Cambodia on operating air traffic flow.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister Thang required further research on more direct routes, including the piloted Noi Bai – Tan Son Nhat. He asked for establishment of working missions under the Ministry of Transport to work with the aviation agencies in Laos and Cambodia in handling the remaining issues.

He also set an October deadline for the test results on the North-South air route, as well as continuing adjustment of other routes towards ensuring national defence and security, and improving economic efficiency.