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Effort needed to reduce flight delays, cancellations

VIETNAM, July 15 - While domestic aviation recovers, it is important to make an effort to reduce the rate of delays and cancellations. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam on Wednesday asked domestic airlines to make an effort to reduce the rates of flight delays and cancellations.

Đinh Việt Thắng, the civil aviation authority’s director, said that the domestic aviation market was recovering at a pace that beat every forecast, citing statistics that domestic visitors through airports in June increased by 38 per cent against the same period in 2019 before COVID broke out.

However, the number of delayed and cancelled flights has increased significantly, especially at Nội Bài and Tân Sơn Nhất international airports, as the aviation infrastructure remains undeveloped, he said.

“We cannot wait until the infrastructure system improves to reduce the rates of delays and cancellations,” Thắng said.

He pointed out that Nội Bài T3 Terminal was expected to go operational in July 2024 at the earliest and Long Thành Airport in the second or third quarter of 2025, while Tân Sơn Nhất Airport would not be upgraded until Long Thành was put into operation.

“What’s important is to find new ways to solve the problems, including the application of technology to reduce the number of delays and cancellations and ensure travel demand,” Thắng said.

Affirming that there was much work to do, Thắng said that it was important to have the determination to improve the situation, adding that if each stage was shortened and operation capacity improved, the airport would have better traffic, meaning delays and cancellations would decrease.

After surveying Tân Sơn Nhất Airport, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority Hồ Minh Tấn said that the flight delays at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport were quite severe in June. There were several reasons for the delays and cancellations.

Besides the overloaded infrastructure or bad weather, the arrangement of aeroplanes in the parking lots was not reasonable, not considering the aircraft's departure time.

According to Nguyễn Quý Đôn, deputy director of the Southern Flight Management Corporation, pilots must strictly follow the time they are allowed to occupy the runway. Every second saved from the time of runway occupation means a lot to flight operation.

Sharing the same viewpoint, Bùi Thanh Hà from the Việt Nam Flight Management Corporation said that in a recent survey at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport, when Singapore’s B777-300 aeroplane landed, it took the pilot only 60 seconds to get off the runway while the Vietnamese pilot took nearly 70 seconds.

Deputy Director General of Vietnam Airlines Trịnh Hồng Quang said that no carriers wanted its flights to be delayed or cancelled. However, the market was growing too fast beyond every forecast, and carriers could not keep up.

Quang said that the carrier would cooperate with relevant management agencies to improve services and reduce the rates of delays and cancellations.

According to Thắng, when the number of passengers on the plane increased, the infrastructure was limited, and congestion and flight delays were unavoidable.

It would be hard for passengers to accept that the flight, which took only 45 minutes from departure to arrival, was delayed for hours.

If there were no improvements, the number of flights must be reduced, Thắng said, adding that even the UK had to cancel hundreds of thousands of flights recently.

Thắng asked the Việt Nam Flight Management Corporation and the Airports Corporation of Việt Nam to coordinate to discuss the operation rules for parking and be flexible in accordance with flight times.

It is also necessary to regulate the time for occupying the runways of specific airports, especially Nội Bài and Tân Sơn Nhất airports, which were overcrowded, he said.

More than 5,600 flights of domestic airlines were delayed in June, accounting for more than 18 per cent of the total number of flights and nearly 16 per cent higher than the same period of 2021 and 9.4 per cent higher than May.

Sixty-five flights were cancelled last month or 0.2 per cent of the total number of flights.

The most common reason for the delay was a late return of an aeroplane.

According to the International Air Transport Association, Việt Nam is among the countries with the fastest recovering domestic aviation market. — VNS