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Vietnam airline under special supervision after wrong-airport scandal

Vietnam airline under special supervision after wrong-airport scandal

Friday, June 27, 2014, 12:32 GMT+7

VietJet Air (VJA), Vietnam’s sole privately-owned and -operated airline, will have all of its operations under intensive supervision for a month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) ruled Thursday.

The decision, applicable for airline operations at both airports and the flight planner division, took effect on the same day, a week after the low-cost carrier made national headlines as one of its planes landed at a wrong airport.

“The CAAV will directly oversee VJA pending a new decision,” Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the authority, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

On Wednesday, Thang was reprimanded by Minister of Transport Dinh La Thanh for his collateral responsibility for the incident when the Airbus A320 aircraft carrying more than 200 passengers landed at a destination about 130km away from where it should have been on June 19.

The Czech captain, who was not informed of the changed air route, landed at Cam Ranh airport in the coastal province of Khanh Hoa, while he was supposed to fly to Da Lat in the Central Highlands.

In April, the CAAV inspected VietJet Air to see if it still met conditions to maintain its air operator's certificate, according to Thanh.

An air operator's certificate, or AOC, is the approval granted by a national aviation authority to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes.

“The inspection found that VietJet Air was still able to keep its AOC, but there are shortcomings it should correct,” Thanh said.

Most of the problems are related to the airline’s human resources as VietJet Air still does not have an adequate force of personnel for some aspects of its operations.

“As these cannot be done overnight, we gave VietJet Air three months to fix things up from May 7 before we launch a re-assessment,” Thanh said. “Unfortunately, the landing scandal occurred during this given time.”

The CAAV has said the airline’s flight coordinators were to blame for the incident. And ironically, this is also “what we asked VietJet Air to improve following the April inspection,” Thanh admitted.

After what is an unprecedented scandal in the history of the Vietnamese aviation, VietJet Air will now be supervised “every hour and every day,” Thanh asserted.

The supervision lasts for one month, a time frame which Thanh said will “reassure the airline that it can still normally operate.”

“During this month, VietJet Air will correct its shortcomings and its employees will learn many things from the CAAV officials, who are all experts that have been invited to assess international carriers,” Thanh said.

The CAAV chief spoke of the close supervision as “not a challenge to VietJet Air, but a chance instead.”

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