Officials disciplined over contact failures at Cat Bi airport
The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC - Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) has taken disciplinary measures against a number of people involved in the loss of communication between pilots and air traffic controllers at Cat Bi International Airport on March 9.
As reported by local media, pilots of two flights tried to establish contact with the air traffic control tower at Cat Bi on the night of March 9 thirty-nine times but to no avail as one of the two air controllers on duty was absent while the other was sleeping when the pilots tried to communicate.
Air controller Luong Thi Minh Thu, who slept at the tower, has been transferred and had her wage lowered while Nguyen Van Chanh got a warning for leaving the tower while on duty without reporting to his superiors. Nguyen Chi Manh, secretary of the Party committee at Cat Bi airport’s air traffic control tower, has been removed from his post for his lack of supervision, and the tower’s deputy head Luong Van Binh has been reprimanded for the lack of responsibility for relevant checks.
Nguyen Duc Hieu, deputy director of Northern Air Traffic Management Company, has been reprimanded for failure to fulfill his duty on directing the Cat Bi air traffic control tower. Meanwhile, Nguyen Tien Thanh of the company’s safety and security department also got a reprimand for the lack of supervision.
A warning has been issued against the whole staff of the tower for violations related to shift management for multiple times, according to Pham Viet Dung, general director of VATM.
Dung said a teleconference was held for leaders of air traffic management firms in different regions and all air traffic control towers nationwide to learn from the incident at Cat Bi airport, review air safety management, seek measures to strengthen checks, and improve supervision, labor discipline and service quality.
The corporation is reviewing collective and individual responsibilities for the incident involving the failure of establishing contact with the two planes and will submit the results to the Minister of Transport before April 15.
According to local media, a Vietjet plane from Haiphong to Seoul was scheduled to take off at 11.45 p.m. but could not contact air traffic controllers at Cat Bi airport from 10:51 p.m. to 11.24 p.m.
Another plane from HCMC to the northern city was unable to contact the tower from 10.51 p.m. to 11.38 p.m. while it was approaching the airport. The pilot was forced to circle for 30 minutes while trying to establish communication with the tower multiple times.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said the service interruption posed a grave threat to air traffic safety at Cat Bi airport.