|Passengers wait to check-in at Noi Bai International Airport. Flight delays and cancellations by local carriers remain high despite efforts of the Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo Truong Vi
HCM CITY (VNS) — Flight delays and cancellations by local carriers remain high despite the efforts of the Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam over the second half of last month, a senior CAAV official has said.
The administration reviewed problems facing airlines and airport managements in a bid to resolve the delays and cancellation at the three major airports in Ha Noi, Da Nang, and HCM City, Vo Huy Cuong, deputy head of the CAAV, was quoted as saying in Dau Tu (Viet Nam Investment Review) newspaper.
Before July, the average ratio of delays and cancellations was 25 per cent, and it remained at over 20 per cent by the end of July. The transport ministry wants a 90 per cent ratio for on-time flights.
At the Da Nang International Airport, despite several measures like early opening of check-in counters and increasing ground services equipment, delays and cancellations of domestic flight reduced by just 9 percentage points.
It dropped from 28.3 per cent to 18.06 per cent for Vietnam Airlines; 30 per cent to 22.47 per cent for Jetstar Pacific; and 47 per cent to 38.4 per cent for Vietjet Air.
Aircraft returning late was the main reason for the delays and cancellations, accounting for 59 – 62 per cent of them, Cuong said.
Nguyen Ngoc Son, deputy director of the Northern Airports Authority, explained, "Most airlines do not have spare aeroplanes, and so if just one flight comes late, a series of others suffer delays."
But aircraft are never able to leave within 30 minutes of arrival as scheduled, taking a minimum of 50 minutes instead, he said.
Another factor, and one that is out of airlines' control, is the serious overloading of airport infrastructure, especially at Tan Son Nhat in HCM City.
"Tan Son Nhat has a maximum capacity of 20 million passengers a year, and in 2013 the number was exceeded and the infrastructure was stretched," Dang Tuan Tu, its director, said.
The Northern Airports Authority has admitted that airlines cancel flights or switch passengers to other flights due to shortage of aircraft or low occupancy.
At a meeting with the CAAV's inspection department last week, Duong Tri Thanh, deputy general director of Viet Nam Airlines, suggested closing check-in counters 40 minutes before the flight, or 10 minutes earlier than now, to allow ground service units enough time.
"To reduce flight delays and cancellations, besides improvements by airlines, passengers on domestic flights should arrive at the airport two hours before their flight," he said.
The CAAV agreed with the suggestions but said airlines had to amend regulations governing delays and cancellations.
The Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has instructed the CAAV, Viet Nam Air Services Company, Viet Nam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Jetstar Pacific to take drastic measures to reduce delays and cancellations as well as make airlines more accountable.
This month the CAAV has to finalise a draft circular – and send to the ministry – on increasing compensation for passengers affected by delays and cancellations. — VNS