VietNamNet Bridge - Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has asked the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to continue to conduct research about the possibility of having more direct air routes to shorten travel time.

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On September 10, CAAV officials reported to Minister Thang the results of a test of the direct air route between Hanoi and HCM City, which passes through airspace of Laos and Cambodia.

According to the CAAV, the new air route cuts five minutes off the trip and 86km compared with the current route. The test was confirmed by experts of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to be correct.

CAAV head Lai Xuan Thanh said the Lao authorities agreed to allow Vietnamese aircraft to use the height range of 240 to 280, which will not help to cut fuel consumption.

The most difficult task is to negotiate with Laos to be permitted to use the optimum flight range. In addition, the transit fees are quite high.

Mr. Dinh Viet Thang, General Director of the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation, said the main problem of the route is the flight altitude, so only if Laos and Cambodia allow Vietnamese aircraft to use the optimal flight attitude, will the efficiency of the new air route be ensured.

Thang also suggested setting up a one-way air route from the South to the North in order to reduce congestion and pressure on air traffic controllers, while the route from the north to the south will remain.

Mr. Phan Xuan Duc, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Airlines, said that in the past five years the corporation has adjusted 20 air routes to save 4,300 flight hours.

At the meeting, Minister Dinh La Thang asked the CAAV to continue testing more direct air routes, including the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route.

He also instructed the relevant bodies to establish a working group to research and restrict the airspace and the airport system to achieve efficiency.

This working group is assigned to work with the aviation authorities of Laos and Cambodia on the implementation of the new Hanoi-HCM City air route, and the results must be delivered in October.

"Implementation of the north-south direct route is for the country and the people, not to prove who is wrong and who is right. One minute of saving is also valuable. Adjusting air routes is one of many solutions to improve the efficiency of the aviation industry," Minister Thang said.

The idea of the "golden route" or the direct route between the north and the south was introduced by former pilot of Vietnam Airlines Mai Trong Tuan in 2009. The idea was rejected by experts at many workshops. In 2012, Mr. Tran Dinh Ba re-launched the idea and was also rejected.

In July, Minister Dinh La Thang asked the CAAV to re-consider the idea to help airlines reduce flight time and fuel.

CAAV chief Lai Xuan Thanh said Vietnam now uses satellite navigation methods instead of the ground stations as before.

Therefore, air traffic controlling on the difficult terrain of Laos and Cambodia is no longer a hindrance. In addition, the direct route is also supported by the Ministry of Defense in the reorganization of airspace to give priority to civil flight operations and economic development.

According to calculations by airlines, if they fly through the airspace of Laos and Cambodia, they will have to pay $836 for a Boeing 777 and $622 for an Airbus A320 aircraft/flight.


Na Son