Thursday, April 20, 2017

Vietnam Airlines completing petition for direct flight to US

Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) and national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) are completing the necessary procedures to open direct air routes to the United States in 2018.
A source of VIR said that the Ministry of Transport has granted $40,000 to CAAV so that it can work with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct a technical review. Through this cooperation, the FAA will assess CAAV’s capacity in accordance with the regulations of the Aviation Safety Inspectorate of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in May 2017. ICAO is the US technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommends practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.
According to the results of this assessment, FAA will make an official announcement to CAAV regarding the international aviation safety assessment (IASA). Last year it was reported that CAAV set up a project on strengthening the supervision capacity of aviation safety with the financial aid of $0.56 million, funded by the US Trade and Development Agency.
The project, which was completed in March 2016, aims to help CAAV complete the action plan on supporting vocational training of its staff, continuing updating related regulations and legal documents, and supporting the professional training of inspectors of Vietnamese regulatory agencies in accordance with FAA-standard safety supervision requirements, reaching CAT 1, a prerequisite for Vietnamese airlines to open direct flights to the United States.
This means that CAAV will meet the safety standards of VNA in line with FAA standards.
If the local aviation authority is qualified for CAT 1, Vietnamese air carriers will be able to transport goods and passengers directly between Vietnam and the US, said a CAAV representative.
Earlier, in November 2016, VNA submitted a document to the US Department of Transportation, asking for permission to operate direct flights. VNA expected flight to start by the end of 2018. However, in order for domestic airlines to open direct flights to the US instead of transiting in third countries, a prerequisite for the US to even consider approval is that the country’s aviation authority has reached CAT 1 rating.
Some 689,000 passengers travelled between Vietnam and the US in 2016, marking an average growth rate of 8.4 per cent per year in the 2010-2016 period. There are no direct routes between the two countries at the moment. The passengers mainly transit in Taiwan (63 per cent), Incheon – South Korea (12 per cent), Hong Kong (11 per cent), Narita – Japan (3 per cent), Beijing (3 per cent), and Shanghai (3 per cent).
The opening of direct flight routes will contribute to the promotion of bilateral relations, the shortening of travel time as well as save the time to transport goods by air.
By Anh Minh


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