Vietnam’s aviation industry sets sky-high goals

09:03 | 16/10/2019 Economy- Society

(VEN) - Although the aviation industry’s growth slowed down in the first half of 2019, the sector is expected to develop strongly with the increasing participation of private enterprises. Vietnam Economic News’ Thu Huong spoke with Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) about prospects for the industry.

vietnams aviation industry sets sky high goals

The aviation industry’s “hot” growth tended to slow down in the first half of 2019. What is your assessment of this?

Although it kept increasing in the first half of 2019, the aviation passenger market growth tended to slow down to reach 9.4 percent compared to the same period of 2018, with a total of 38.5 million passengers. A new Vietnamese airlines - Bamboo Airways - has recently joined the market, taking the total number of airlines offering flights from and to Vietnam to 76, including 72 foreign and four Vietnamese airlines. They are providing flights on more than 200 regular international routes and charter flights connecting 25 countries and territories with eight destinations in Vietnam (Hanoi - the capital, Da Nang, Tan Son Nhat, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Can Tho, Cat Bi, and Da Lat).

The Vietnamese aviation sector’s recent slowdown doesn’t make investors less interested in this vibrant industry. Vietravel Airlines of Vietnam’s leading tourism corporation - Vietravel, Vinpearl Air of the country’s leading conglomerate Vingroup, and Kite Air of the Thien Minh Group will join the market soon to further diversify choices for passengers.

vietnams aviation industry sets sky high goals
Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam

Will the country’s infrastructure meet the industry’s development demand?

The aviation industry has three main components: airport systems, flight management and airlines. All of them need consistent and proper investment.

Airlines offering flights from and to Vietnam have made tremendous progress in terms of both quantity and quality, significantly contributing to creating an increasingly competitive market, promoting domestic and foreign market development, and attracting more air transport service buyers. Vietnam Airlines has for many years maintained its position as a 4-star airline, with a fleet of young and modern aircrafts including the Airbus 350, Boeing 787-9/10 and Airbus 321, while Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways have continuously increased the number of new planes and opened many more domestic and international air routes, contributing to the efficient exploitation of aviation infrastructure, especially local airports.

Vietnam has built a modern, consistent civil flight management and control system, including two long-range control centers, four access control centers in place, 22 air traffic control stations at national civil airports, 25 navigation stations, and 12 ADS-B stations. Many important systems, including flight control, automated data handling, satellite navigation technology, ADS-B stations, automated flight data transfer, and air traffic control technology, have been equipped with advanced automated technologies.

Airports have been developed, improved and expanded with state and private capital, with notable projects including Van Don International Airport, Da Nang International Terminal, and Cam Ranh International Terminal. The FLC Group and Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) are looking forward to working with Vietnam Airlines Corporation to build the T3 Terminal at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport, while Vietjet has expressed its wish to upgrade the Chu Lai and Da Nang International airports.

Privately-funded developments at the Van Don International Airport, T2 Terminal of the Da Nang International Airport, and T2 Terminal of the Cam Ranh International Airport have helped ease pressure on major airports, as well as passenger congestion at Da Nang and Cam Ranh airports.

In an attempt to ease the aviation infrastructure overload, the state has plans for construction of a Long Thanh International Airport, and upgrading, expanding and increasing the service capacity of airports nationwide. The government has established a state council for assessment of a feasibility study on Phase I of the Long Thanh International Airport project.

What does Vietnam need to do in order to develop its aviation market on a sustainable basis?

The aviation industry’s management capacity needs to be improved further. The growing aviation industry requires a higher and advanced management mindset. Priorities should be given to developing human resources quantitatively and qualitatively. It is necessary to develop and apply compatible management tools associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 to meet the sector’s development needs and increasingly sophisticated requirements for aviation safety and security and the quality of aviation services.

New airlines should clarify their goals and strategies and prepare sufficient financial and human resources, especially pilots, engineers, and mechanics to survive competition in domestic and foreign markets.

Apart from airport infrastructure development, Vietnam needs to have an adequate, efficient and appropriate legal system in place to diversify sources of investment in airport development and meet the growing demand for air transport development in the future.

As of late June 2019, Vietnamese airlines operated a fleet of 197 aircraft, an increase of 30 aircraft compared to the

same time last year, with an average airplane age of 5.2 years. They offered flights on 155 regular routes and charter

flights from and to 89 destinations in 20 countries and territories, carving out a market share of 41 percent. They are

providing flights on 48 domestic air routes, connecting 22 airports.

Thu Huong