Vietnamese aviation sector poised to fly high

09:01 | 28/09/2018 Society

(VEN) - The Vietnamese air transport market grew by 16.64 percent per year in the number of passengers and up by 14 percent per year in the volume of commodities during the period from 2010-2017. In so doing, it is moving to the group of the top four aviation markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Vietnam Economic News’ reporter Ha Huong spoke with Vo Huy Cuong, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.

vietnamese aviation sector poised to fly high

The Vietnamese aviation market continued to grow recently. What do you think about it?

The Vietnamese aviation market grew robustly last year, both in terms of passengers and aircraft. In the first half of this year, the number of passengers reached 51.8 million, up by 14 percent from a year ago, and the volume of commodities increased by 9.4 percent to 726,000 tonnes. In particular, Vietnamese airlines transported 25.1 million passengers, up by 15 percent, and 186,000 tonnes of commodities, up by 21.2 percent. The number of aircraft has increased rapidly among both state-run and private airlines.

Currently, 64 foreign airlines from 26 countries and territories are operating in Vietnam. They, together with three Vietnamese airlines (including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific Airlines) operate 113 international airways from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hai Phong, and Phu Quoc. At home, four Vietnamese airlines (including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air, Jetstar Pacific Airlines and VASCO) currently run 53 domestic airways. Among these, Vietnam Airlines takes the lead with 93 aircraft (including the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350) by the end of 2017, flying to 38 domestic and 52 foreign destinations.

Vietnamese and foreign airlines have also increased the number of international charter flights to Hue, Can Tho and Da Lat, thus creating a premise for operation of regular international flights to these localities this year, in conformity to the government’s policy to boost international flights to Vietnamese international airports, particularly the new ones.

vietnamese aviation sector poised to fly high

Do existing infrastructure and security facilities meet the need of the aviation market?

As state investment cannot keep pace with the rapid development in the aviation market, private investors have poured capital in aviation infrastructure in the last few years.

So far, private investors have invested in five international airport infrastructure projects, including the Van Don International Airport (scheduled for opening in the first quarter of next year), a new terminal at the Cam Ranh International Airport (opened this July), and the Cat Bi and Chu Lai international airports.

In addition, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) plans to invest almost VND7.57 trillion in projects in 2018, focusing on building capacity of airports with large numbers of passengers and high potential such as Tan Son Nhat, Noi Bai, Cat Bi, Chu Lai and Phu Bai. Priorities will be given to several projects, including new Terminal T3 of the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, building a terminal and complete infrastructure at the Phu Bai International Airport, and building Terminal T2 at the Vinh Airport.

Last year, the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) safely managed more than 800,000 flights, a 10 percent increase from 2016. Meanwhile, the corporation has invested in new facilities and technology to increase air traffic capacity and the frequency of takes-off and landings. The CAAV and the VATM have got together with the Ministry of National Defense to make the most of airways and reduce expenses for domestic and foreign airlines.

The quality of services at airports has also improved since 21 airports meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); 17 of the 21 ACV-managed airports reach the ICAO’s 4C and 4D levels; and 4 reach the 3C-grade standard (including Rach Gia, Dien Bien, Ca Mau and Con Dao). In particular, the Noi Bai International Airport ranks 83rd among SkyTrax-listed top 100 airports in the world in 2017.

vietnamese aviation sector poised to fly high

What plans does the aviation sector have for the near future in order to improve its global position?

To keep up with the rapid growth in the aviation sector, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung signed Decision 236/QD-TTg on February 23, 2018, adopting the amended Air Transport Development Blueprint until 2020, with a Vision to 2030.

According to the blueprint, Vietnam is expected to take fourth place in the ASEAN in terms of transport capacity by 2030 as a result of modern technology application and airport expansion.

The blueprint also encourages international flights to airports in localities with tourism potential, stronger connection between airway networks, and combination of various means of transport.

Furthermore, to ensure sustainable development of the aviation sector, the blueprint addresses the equitization of state-owned businesses, the role of aviation businesses in specific areas, the establishment of an aviation R&D center, and the development of senior experts.

Apart from Vietnam Airlines, which is currently a major air carrier, the blueprint sets to develop three passenger and commodity air transport centers in order to keep on par with the rest of the ASEAN.

By 2020, there will be 13 domestic and 10 international airports. Of which, the four international airports of Noi Bai, Da Nang, Tan Son Nhat and Cam Ranh will play a major role in connecting Vietnam with the world.

The blueprint also aims to help Vietnamese airlines develop direct flights to major foreign markets via restructuring their fleets.

Ha Huong