Seaplane operator suffers bumpy ride
  • |, Vietnamnet | August 15, 2016 01:39 PM
The Vietnam Civil Aviation Authority has again proposed to the Ministry of Transport to extend the 50% price subsidy for Hai Au Aviation which is facing financial difficulties operating its seaplane service in Vietnam.

Hai Au Aviation has been facing difficulties after two years operating seaplane service in Vietnam. 

The agency has asked the ministry to continue the 50% price discount support until September 30, 2017 for the airline.

Hai Au Aviation is the first company to operate a commercial seaplane service. However, the pioneer has incurred heavy losses and faces closure due to complicated regulations.

The company started its first aerial tours of Halong Bay in September 2014.  Each seaplane can carry 12 passengers and offers 30-minute flights from Hanoi to Halong Bay for 250USD.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Transport last August, the Hai Au Company complained that they were facing lots of difficulties, including having to receive approval from the ministries of transport and defence. In addition, they had to ask for permission for every single flight, which made it very hard for the firm to offer a flexible service for their customers.

Hai Au has three seaplanes, but they worked only 700 flight hours a year, way below maximum capacity, said Hai Au’s CEO Dinh Thu Trang.

Trang said the major reason was the lack of appropriate policies.

Trang explained that Hai Au’s services could not develop because the firm had to offer seaplane services based on available air routes, like traditional flights, while seaplanes operating on tourist routes should have more flexibility.

"Therefore, when an air route is occupied, Hai Au’s seaplanes have to fly on another route, which is a longer distance, resulting in a longer flying time and higher costs," she said.

Since early 2016, all flights by seaplanes from Noi Bai Airport to Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh have stopped flying.

Another difficulty was from authorities at locations where Hai Au offered flight services.

"When we asked for permission from local authorities to provide seaplane services, they had to organise a lot of meetings to discuss and consider the offer because of the lack of legal foundations. It took us from six months to a year to get approval,” Trang said.

Hai Au has asked the aviation authorities to issue detailed planning for Vietnam skies, detailed provisions on flight modes, and management, assistance and communication methods in each flight area, and to create favourable conditions for low-range flight operations, and flights outside of designated air routes.

This firm also wants to have only one management agency – the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.

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