08:37 | 16/05/2019 Cooperation
(VEN) - As Vietnam and the United States prepare to launch direct flights, more than 80 public and private sector representatives from the two countries convened last month in Ho Chi Minh City to discuss opportunities for cooperation in developing Vietnam’s airport infrastructure.
Boosting PPP investments
“The Trump administration has underscored its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region through our continued efforts to partner on key infrastructure projects, like many of the ones we are discussing today,” said Deputy Consul General Timothy Liston from the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City.
The US government will advance bilateral cooperation under its Indo-Pacific strategy, capitalizing on the opportunity to collaborate with Vietnam, while strengthening Vietnam’s airport infrastructure with modern technologies that are efficient, secure, and uphold international standards, he told workshop participants.
The workshop was built on the momentum created by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s announcement granting Vietnam Category 1 status two months ago, as well as aviation trade pacts signed during President Donald Trump’s visit to Hanoi in late February, Liston said.
Participants included representatives from the US Department of Commerce (DOC), US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), aviation project developers in the private sector, and stakeholders, who discussed plans to develop key infrastructure projects in Vietnam’s airports, and opportunities for collaboration.
Leaders from Astrophysics, Bechtel Enterprises, Collins Aerospace, Dow Chemical, Haskell, Honeywell, Hyster, IDSS, KPMG, Parsons, L3 Technologies, Rapiscan Systems, Sabre Corporation, and UL shared best practices to strengthen ties between the US and Vietnam.
Currently, the US-Vietnam Aviation Industry Group represents 26 companies, six US government agencies and departments, and two US business associations. Private members cover a broad range of resources and expertise, including airport development and construction, aircraft, air traffic and on-ground safety and security, maintenance and repair operations, and equipment and engineering services. The team of US government agencies also provides a range of support and expertise, from financial and technical assistance to funding for planning and pilot projects.
In February 2019, the US Department of Transportation’s FAA announced that Vietnam complies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards and had been granted a Category 1 rating. The decision was based on an August 2018 FAA assessment of the safety oversight provided by CAAV, which is the result of years of diligent work by CAAV and the Ministry of Transport.
With the Category 1 status, Vietnamese airlines will be able to establish direct service to the US and code sharing flights with US carriers upon completion of the necessary remaining steps. These include airport compliance with ICAO security standards and recommended practices from the US Transportation Security Administration, and Vietnamese airlines earning financial approval by the US Department of Transportation.
In order to maintain a Category 1 rating, a country must adhere to safety standards of the ICAO - the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
After obtaining Category 1 certification, Vietnamese airlines need to apply for a commercial flight license from the FAA to fly directly to the US. Technically, direct flights to the US require airlines to have modern aircraft models such as Boeing 787-9 or Airbus A350. They are extra wide body (EWB) aircraft that can be used for long-distance flights, such as the US-Vietnam route, which lasts about 13 hours, depending on the destination. Currently, Vietnam Airlines is the only carrier operating the new generation of wide-body aircraft that can fly directly to the US.