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Ministry resumes research of new Hanoi – HCM City air route Tin mới nhất

(10:47:54 AM 17/07/2014)
( - Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has directed the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to conduct a research project to shorten the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City air route, as suggested by Dr. Tran Dinh Ba in 2012.

The current route (blue) and the direct route proposed by Dr. Tran Dinh Ba (red).


At a recent meeting with CAAV, Minister Thang said he would work with the General Staff and the Air Defense - Air Force on the plan to shorten the current route, ensuring economic effectiveness and national defense.


Mr. Dinh Viet Thang, CAAV Deputy Director, said the agency has a research organization specializing in shortening air routes.


For example, the Hanoi - Phu Quoc route has been shortened by 20 minutes by flying through the territory of Laos and Cambodia.


Thang said if flying through Laos and Cambodia, the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route will be shortened, but Laos and Cambodia will claim high transit fees so the current route is still more economical.


For the Hanoi - Phu Quoc route, though the transit fees are high, the shortened route is still more effective than the previous one.


"This August we will negotiate with the partners to reduce the transit costs for the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route," said Thang.


The Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City "golden route", proposed by former pilot Mai Trong Tuan in 2009, is expected to cut 25 minutes of travel time from Hanoi to HCMC and save 5,000 liters of fuel.


According to Tuan, a direct air route along 106th meridian east will cut the distance between Hanoi and HCMC from 1,200 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers. Time in the air will be reduced from 105 minutes to 80 minutes. The proposed new air route will mean planes flying between the capital and HCMC will fly over Laos and Cambodia, rather than over the ocean, following Vietnam’s “S” shaped coastline.


A 200-seat passenger uses 25,000 liters of fuel on the route but could save 5,000 liters of fuel per flight by flying in a straight line between the two cities, Tuan said. Fares for Hanoi-HCMC flights could be cut by 16 percent with the new route, he said.


After the proposal was put forward in late June, the Transport Ministry and the CAAV met with Tuan to discuss the proposal further. But the ministry asked the PM to put an end to the plan as it said the route does not meet ‘technical requirements’ and may affect aviation safety.


In August 2009, Dr. Tran Dinh Ba, a member of the Vietnam Association of Economic Sciences, challenged the CAAV to a US$5 million bet that the new Hanoi-HCMC air route would be more efficient than the agency’s estimate.


According to Ba, the current Hanoi - HCMC route is twisty and longer than the direct route through Laos and Cambodia, making a waste of 26 minute with a Boeing 777 or 25% of the production costs.


The Hanoi - Can Tho air route is also a waste of 28%, and the Hanoi - Phu Quoc route 38%. Ba said that the current routes are "burning" $300 million per year of airlines’ budgets on domestic routes. This explains why the international routes are profitable while the domestic routes incur heavy losses.


Ba said Tuan’s idea to fly straight over Laos and Cambodia, instead of veering east over the East Sea, would be 20 percent more efficient than the VCAA had estimated.


Indeed, Tuan had already said that the flights from Hanoi to HCMC could be decreased to 1,000 kilometers while flight time would also drop to only 80 minutes from 105 minutes, adding that the new route could also save one-fifth of the 25,000 liters of gasoline now used per flight. He also estimated ticket prices could be 16 percent cheaper.


In a note sent to VCAA, Ba bet the agency that its figures were incorrect. The original bet was that if VCAA’s calculations underestimated the efficiency of the new route by 20 percent or more, it would have to pay Ba $5 million.


However, if Ba was wrong and VCAA could prove that its calculations were within a 5 percent margin of the exact figures, he would have to dole out the sum to the agency from his own pocket. However, as a state body, the CAAV could not accept the bet. This agency asked related agencies to stop researching or discussing the “golden route”.


Earlier this year, Dr. Tran Dinh Ba sent letters to the Government proposing measures to revamp the aviation sector to benefit the airlines, passengers and the state budget.

Na Son

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