Poor enforcement of aviation regulations has reached an alarming level, Vo Huy Cuong, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam, told Hai quan (Customs) Newspaper.
In the first six months of 2014, 145 cases relating to aviation safety were reported. Can you explain to us this seemingly high figure?
When we talk about aviation safety, 145 cases were reported in the first six months of 2014. The figure represents a sharp increase of 95.9 per cent compared with the same period last year. However, when we take a close look at each incident, safety measures were implemented effectively and potential incidents were detected early. For example, passengers carrying weapons or explosives that might threaten flight safety and airports were stopped before anything could happen.
Some people say that poor management is affecting aviation safety. What's your position?
Regarding aviation safety, Viet Nam has comprehensive legal documents on this matter. What's more important is that our documents are in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation's standards.
However, we have to concede that our law enforcement is weak, particularly inspections conducted by the Port Authority. This may be due to a shortage of qualified personnel. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam has not done enough to ensure its departments perform their duties at their best to ensure aviation safety.
As I have mentioned, the main cause leading to such incidents is the poor implementation of aviation safety protocols.
Following some incidents, violators simply said they were unaware of safety rules. Among the 145 cases, aviation staff were at fault for just three, when two passengers took the wrong flight, and when another passenger who had been temporarily banned from flying was able to board his plane.
Many people say the punishments for violating aviation safety regulations are not strict enough. Do you agree?
In the past, I agreed! But not any more.
Under Government Decree 147/2013/ND-CP, the sanctions handed down to the violators are rather heavy. With minor cases, violators are fined. For serious cases, violators will be banned from flying for a certain period of time depending on the seriousness of their actions.
Does the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam have any plans to improve aviation safety and aviation services?
Following these incidents, the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam analysed each case to ensure aviation security and to improve its performance and State management role.
The Aviation Authority is in the process of developing a proposal for the comprehensive reform of the aviation sector, including the Aviation Authority and Port Authority.
The Aviation Authority will focus on measures to improve the efficiency and supervision of the whole system.
What safety objectives have been laid down by the sector for the immediate future?
The primary objective is absolute safety on all flights
The second objective is to overcome existing shortcomings and weaknesses to ensure good security and aviation safety.
To achieve these two key objectives, the Aviation Authority has adopted an action plan this month with a list of all the things that must be done in the remaining months of 2014 and the following years. — VNS