VietNamNet Bridge – Airlines are taking a wait and see attitude about the proposed air route between Hanoi and HCM City that will fly over Cambodia and Laos airspace, cutting flight time compared to the current route.
Experts have said that this will be the most economical air route to follow.
The agreements reached between the Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and Lao and Cambodian counterparts have laid a foundation for the deployment of the new air route.
The route, which is more direct path between the two cities, is expected to cut down expenses and save time. Currently airlines have to fly across the sea, which increases the amount of fuel and flight time.
However, air carriers are still hesitant to develop flights on the air route because they still cannot calculate the total expenses of every flight. The problem is that while airlines can save money on air petrol, they may have to pay higher fees when flying over Lao and Cambodian airspace.
With the current air route, airplanes fly within Vietnamese territory, while airlines have to pay a guide fee of VND3.5-4 million for every flight to the Vietnam Flight Control Corporation.
If they fly across Laos and Cambodia with a Boeing 777, they would have to pay $836 for every flight, or VND17.7 million. The fee would be VND13 million, if the plane used was an Airbus A320.
As such, the flight management cost for every two-way trip with A320, A321 and B777/330 would be $1,244, $1,274 and $1,672, respectively.
While airlines can see that the flight management cost would increase with the new air route, they still are not sure how much fuel they could save.
“To date, no one can say for sure how long the new air route will be,” an expert said.
“In reality, there might be zones that airplanes cannot go through and they have to take a roundabout. Sometimes airplanes have to fly tens of kilometers more to enter the right passage for landing, which makes the real distance longer than initially estimated,” he explained.
The air route which has been used so far has a total length of 1,274 kilometers. It takes one hour and 42 minutes and 4.7 tons of fuel to fly from Hanoi to HCM City with Airbus A320, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
Meanwhile, the “golden air route” drawn on paper by Tran Dinh Ba, an engineer from the Vietnam Economics Association, has the total length of 1,140 kilometers.
The national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines, after making calculations, has proposed that CAAV negotiate with Lao and Cambodian agencies to reduce transit fees in Laos and Cambodia by 50 percent for the Hanoi-Phu Quoc Island and Hanoi-HCM City flights.
Meanwhile, sources said that the 50 percent fee reduction would ensure profits for airlines, while in the worst case, the 35 percent fee reduction would be “acceptable”.
CAAV’s head Lai Xuan Thanh said that if the fee reduction were accepted, this would be a solution to benefit both sides.
The fee reductions would encourage more air carriers to fly across Laos and Cambodia, which would allow them to earn more money.