UAE initial aviation deal
re-opened to domestic flights
By Binh Nguyen - The Saigon
HCMC - Vietnam
and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have clinched a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) on air services and initialed an air services agreement as well, paving
the way for airlines to fly between the two countries.
The agreement was confirmed on Monday by Vo Huy Cuong,
director of the Air Transport Department at the Civil Aviation Administration
of Vietnam. Several days ago he exchanged relevant documents in Dubai with Laila Ali Bin
Hareb, executive director of Strategy and International Affairs of the UAE
General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
GCAA said in a statement obtained by the Daily that the two
delegations agreed that designated airlines of both parties would have the
right to operate scheduled services. The UAE chose Emirates Airline, Etihad
Airways, Air Arabia, RAK Airways and Fly Dubai while Vietnam Airlines was Vietnam’s
designated carrier under the agreement.
The designated airlines are given full flexibility on their
routes, capacity, number of frequencies and types of aircraft and services for
passengers and cargo. They can execute fifth freedom traffic rights and operate
unrestricted non-scheduled operations between the two nations.
Cuong of CAAV told the Daily that the fifth freedom traffic
rights would allow airlines to operate long-haul flights with a stopover
outside the two countries as it was where they could disembark their passengers
and take new guests on board their planes before they conducted non-stop
Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines are now capitalizing on
the fifth freedom traffic rights for their flights to and from Vietnam via Suvarnabhumi
in Thailand’s capital Bangkok.
Hareb of GCAA described the MoU between UAE and Vietnam as “the most open air services MoU
signed by the Vietnamese Government” following a recent high-ranking official
visit by the UAE government to Vietnam.
She said in the statement that the visit was to strengthen cooperation and
communication with Vietnam
to achieve common interests, and to open up horizons of joint trade and
investment, especially in infrastructure, energy, tourism and aviation.
Hareb added the UAE was considered one of the major foreign
investors in Vietnam
with combined investment capital pledged for its on-going projects amounting to
US$3 billion, exemplifying the need to facilitate air links to spur bilateral
Cuong of CAAV said the agreement would encourage airlines of
the two countries to work out plans to commence their flights and that Vietnam would
provide airlines of the UAE with favorable conditions to help make their
services a reality.
Cuong said Emirates Airline would weigh the possibility of
flying back to Vietnam
while Etihad expressed its intention to conduct a market survey before it
started work on any plan to fly between the two countries, but both did not go
Representatives of Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline
participated in negotiations before the deals were inked, according to GCAA.
Cuong said Vietnam Airlines had not thrashed out any detailed plan to fly to
the Middle East.
Cuong said the documents would be submitted to the
governments of Vietnam
and the UAE for consideration and approval before the two sides signed an
official aviation agreement.
* Southern Airports Corporation has re-opened Rach Gia Airport to domestic flights nearly 20 days after the
airport in the Mekong Delta province
of Kien Giang was closed
to have its only runway repaired and upgraded.
The Ministry of Transport issued Decision 772/QĐ-BGTVT to
put into operation the domestic airport over the weekend as its
1,500-meter-long, 30 meter-wide runway had been upgraded in the closure period
from April 4 to April 23.
Vietnam Airlines is the only operator of daily service to Rach Gia
Airport, which is part of
the national flag carrier’s air route that also covers HCMC and Phu Quoc.
Jetstar Pacific and Air Mekong have not flown to this airport under management
of Southern Airports Corp.
Located seven kilometers from the center of Rach Gia
City, the airport can now
accommodate ATR 72 turboprop aircraft and has a parking area for five planes.