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CAA rejects $52m plan for airfield bird detection

Update: August, 02/2016 - 15:00
A bird strike flattened the nose cone of a plane at Nội Bài airport, Hà Nội last September. — File photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI  The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAA) has slammed a VNĐ$1.16-trillion (US$52.2 million) proposal to install bird detection systems in airports, saying the payback plan was “unreasonable”.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (AVC) had submitted the proposal to the transport ministry (MoT) in late July, asking for permission to install flying object detection systems, also known as FODetect, on the runways of the two largest airports: Nội Bài and Tân Sơn Nhất International Airports. 

FODetect is believed to automatically track and monitor any airfield birds and unidentified flying objects that threaten aviation safety in lieu of conventional visual detection, according to the proposal.

The AVC planned for full payback over six and a half years, starting from 2016, by collecting an extra fee of $35 and $17 per international and domestic flight, respectively. The fee collection was proposed to be implemented in all 21 airports operated by the ACV, even though the FODetect system was to be installed in two of them only.

In a report sent to the MoT regarding the proposal, CAA Head Lại Xuân Thanh said the payback plan to collect extra fees at all airports was “unreasonable,” while its timeline was also “too short”.

“It needs reconsideration for the fee collection level to be in line with the affordability of the airlines, avoiding a steep fee that affects the competitiveness of Việt Nam’s airports,” Thanh said.

The CAA agreed that a bird detection system was necessary, and yet it questioned the investment amount of VNĐ1.16 trillion, when the AVC failed to list out the expense index of the equipment in question as a reference to calculate the estimated total investment.

The proposal was also deemed vague as it lacked several technical details about the FODetect system, such as its operational capability during bad weather or in day/night time, and whether it was available for further upgrades later.

Việt Nam’s airports have encountered an increasing number of bird strikes of late, causing severe structural damage to planes as well as to airlines financially.

One of the notable bird strike incidents took place in Nội Bài Airport in September last year, when a bird hit the nose of a Vietjet Air plane and flattened its top.  VNS


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