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Airline asks for help on Singapore entry issues

Update: August, 24/2015 - 09:46

VietJet Air is up in arms that, during the past six months, many of its Vietnamese passengers have been denied entry into Singapore.— VNA/VNS Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — VietJet Air is up in arms that, during the past six months, many of its Vietnamese passengers have been denied entry into Singapore.

The airline has sent an urgent dispatch to the Government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and the Vietnamese Embassy in Singapore urging them to step in.

About 1,515 recent Vietnamese arrivals on the airline were told they were not permitted to enter the country. No clear explanations were given.

The passengers presented legal passports and other related papers, according to a representative from the airline.

The issue caused the company an extra cost totalling US$319,000 in the first half of this year. This consisted of S$17 an hour for those denied entry and placed in a custody room - plus an extra S$32 an hour for supervisory staff, local media reports.

The total extra expenditure to date has cost VietJet a total of about $710,000.

In addition, the airline has often had to pay for these passengers to fly back to Vietnam.

The company has asked the Government to tell authorised agencies in Viet Nam to work with Singapore to provide specific regulations and guidelines so that tickets were not wasted.

It said Singapore immigration authorities should quickly process people denied entry so that they could return to Viet Nam on following flights, reducing waiting time and costs.

Singapore should also lower the custody and supervisory fees, VietJet Air suggested.

Despite the many refusals, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in a letter recently sent to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said that Vietnamese tourists were welcome in Singapore.

The STB said some Vietnamese tourists were denied entry to Singapore because they failed to present valid passports. It added that they were then interviewed by inspection staff to check additional information.

Singapore's Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said some Vietnamese passengers repeatedly used passports with different personal information to enter the country, resulting in entry denial.

Some violated local laws and failed to explain clearly the reasons for their entry. Others admitted they were trying to seek work, said Vietnam News Agency quoting ICA's answers to the Vietnamese Embassy in late July.

The STB said that staff from the ICA at border gates assessed information and decide who to grant entry.

According to the STB, there has been a steady growth in the number of Vietnamese tourists to Singapore. Last year, Singapore welcomed more than 420,000 Vietnamese. — VNS

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