Two Vietnam Airlines pilots responsible for landing an airplane on an under-construction runway at a south-central airport late last month have had their flying licenses temporarily confiscated for investigation, a leader of the national flag carrier said on Tuesday.
The license confiscation was only a preliminary step taken by Vietnam Airlines with regard to the headline-making aviation scandal, when the Vietnam Airlines flight VN-7344, departing from Ho Chi Minh City, touched down on an under-construction runway at Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Province on April 29.
The case remains under investigation, pending the final conclusion, and possible penalties, from the CAAV, the Vietnam Airlines official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Investigators from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) have found that the flight’s captain and first officer were mostly to blame for the wrong-runway landing.
Vo Huy Cuong, CAAV deputy chief, confirmed that his authority is still investigating the case, with all relevant factors taken in consideration.
Vietnam Airlines general director Duong Tri Thanh has said at a recent conference that human error accounts for 70-80 percent of aviation safety incidents.
|A Vietnam Airlines plane is parked on an under-construction runway at Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Province in south-central Vietnam after a wrong landing on April 29, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Earlier this week, the Vietnamese national carrier continued to be hit by yet another incident, when passengers on a flight from Da Nang to Hanoi had to move to another plane twice, and even spent the night at the airport before they could start their trip.
The Vietnam Airlines flight VN-190 was supposed to leave the Da Nang International Airport for Noi Bai International Airport at 8:10 pm on Monday, but it ended up lying on the runway for an hour due to ‘technical problem,’ according to passengers on board the service.
Passengers were then required to take their belongings to leave the aircraft for the airport’s terminal, where they had to wait until 2:00 am the next day before being told to move into another plane to start their flight.
“I thought the flight was going to depart for real that time, but then all of us [the passengers] were asked to leave the aircraft and return to the waiting room once again,” one passenger said.
The passengers had to wait for another two hours before they were asked to board their third aircraft for the flight, which actually took off and landed safely in Hanoi.
Vietnam Airlines promptly confirmed the incident on Tuesday.
A carrier’s representative said the Boeing 787 initially meant to be used for the service incurred ‘technical problems’ just before takeoff, prompting the airline to switch to an Airbus A321 plane, with the new departure set at 12:30 am on May 15.
As the Airbus aircraft has smaller capacity, some of the passengers were also arranged to board another flight.
However, as it turned out that the alterative aircraft also “failed to meet operating standards,” Vietnam Airlines had to ask passengers to continue to wait, according to the representative.
Another Airbus A321 was then deployed for the service, and passengers could only actually board their flight at 4:30 am, and landed in Hanoi at 5:49 am the same day.
|A Vietnam Airlines’ Boeing aircraft is seen in this file photo. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The representative asserted that Vietnam Airlines served the ‘stranded’ passengers with food, water and blankets at Da Nang airport in pursuance with regulations, and arranged cars to take them to the the city center free of charge upon landing in Hanoi.
“Vietnam Airlines also provided compensation and cover accommodation costs for those passengers who had to board another flight,” he added.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it remains unclear what ‘technical problem’ has affected the Vietnam Airlines planes, leaving passengers angry.
The incident added to the long list of aviation scandals hitting Vietnamese airlines in the year to date.