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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

CAAV: Slots needed for local airlines at foreign airports

By N. Tan

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HCMC – The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has urged the Ministry of Transport to address the difficulties faced by local carriers in securing airport slots in certain foreign countries.

The global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on air travel has led Vietnamese airlines to reduce their international routes. As a result, these airlines face challenges in obtaining flight permits or increasing flight frequencies to certain countries.

According to a report by CAAV, in 2019, the Vietnam-China air travel market had a total of 14 airlines from both countries, with 11 Chinese carriers and three Vietnamese carriers operating flights.

However, Vietnamese airlines are currently operating at only 25% of their pre-pandemic capacity, while Chinese carriers are at around 38%.

The main issue faced by Vietnamese airlines is the difficulty in maintaining slot usage at Chinese airports during the summer 2023 schedule, which puts the retention of historical slots for the summer of 2024 at risk.

To resolve this issue, CAAV emphasized the need for mutual agreement between Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport and Aviation authorities and their Chinese counterparts.

CAAV also proposed implementing the reciprocity principle, allowing Vietnamese and Chinese airlines to retain historical slots even if they fail to fully utilize them during the summer 2023 schedule.

Regarding air travel between Vietnam and the UK, the aviation authority highlighted the UK’s requirement for airlines to maintain a 70% capacity utilization rate to retain historical slots.

However, Vietnamese carriers have not met this requirement as they did not operate flights to the UK in the summer of 2022. Consequently, they have lost their slots at London Heathrow Airport for the summer 2023 schedule.

CAAV has negotiated with UK authorities to secure slots at the airports, but these efforts have been unsuccessful as the UK’s coordinating body is an independent agency, and the country’s Ministry of Transport has no authority to intervene.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese airlines have fully utilized their capacity in four major cities in India. CAAV has proposed increasing flight frequencies to these destinations, but there has been no response from Indian authorities thus far.

Currently, Vietnamese airlines operate 28 flights per week, while Indian airlines only operate 14 out of the 28 allocated flights. The reluctance of India to consider the proposal stems from the fact that Indian airlines have not fully utilized their allocated capacity. This supply and demand mismatch remains an obstacle to bilateral discussions.

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