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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Aircraft shortage seen affecting summer flight schedules

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam’s aviation industry is bracing for a shortage of aircraft during the upcoming summer travel season, potentially affecting flight schedules and sending air ticket prices higher, according to Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

Thang attributed the shortage to a global engine recall, fleet restructuring, and regular maintenance, among others.

Last September, Pratt & Whitney (PW), an American aircraft engine manufacturer, issued a recall for PW1100 engines on Airbus A321neo aircraft due to a manufacturing defect. This move affected 600-700 engines globally, including those used by domestic carriers such as Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air.

As of March, 22 aircraft have been grounded for engine removal and inspection, with 42 more expected to follow by the end of the year. The repair process is anticipated to extend until late 2026 or early 2027.

Financial difficulties experienced by some airlines have led to debt restructuring and the return of leased aircraft. Pacific Airlines has already returned its entire fleet, while Bamboo Airways has downsized its fleet to five aircraft.

Additionally, many aircraft are scheduled for regular maintenance after the peak Lunar New Year travel season, further reducing the available fleet.

To address these challenges, the CAAV has implemented several measures, including increasing night flight operations and deploying wide-body aircraft.

The total market demand for seats during the upcoming summer peak season is estimated at around 24 million.

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