Carriers asked to develop fleet operation plan to meet summer travel demand

By VNA   March 27, 2024 | 12:13 am PT
Carriers asked to develop fleet operation plan to meet summer travel demand
Aircraft seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Ministry of Transport has asked carriers to develop aircraft fleet operation plans to meet the rising travel demand for the upcoming national holidays and summer peak.

In a document sent to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the ministry said that the restructuring of some airlines’ fleet and flight networks, coupled with the recall of PW1100 engines by Pratt & Whitney for repair, have affected the load on both international and domestic flight routes, causing difficulties to passengers in terms of prices and schedules.

Statistics showed that the aircraft fleet in operation in Vietnam has been reduced by 25%, from 223 in 2023 to 173 in the first quarter of this year.

The request is raised in the context that the upcoming national holidays of Reunification Day on April 30 and Labor Day on May 1, and summer holidays, will push up air travel demand.

Accordingly, airlines must develop aircraft fleet operation plans to meet the demand as well as raise solutions to reduce flight cancellations or delays and improve service quality.

The ministry asked the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to enhance supervision over the air transportation services, ticket listings and sales to prevent illegal increases in air tickets. Any violations must be promptly handled.

In addition, flight operation plans and adjustments must be made public so that passengers can be active with their travel plans.

Pratt & Whitney’s recall of its PW1100 engines affects several Airbus A321 NEO operated by Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet, meaning that these planes will be grounded in 2024 and 2025.

According to Vietnam Airlines’ General Director Le Hong Ha, the shortage of aircrafts caused by engine repair and maintenance poses significant difficulties to airlines in 2024.

The problem is that it takes up to 250-300 days for maintenance of an engine, compared to the previous average maintenance time of 100-120 days due to the disruption in supply chains.

Vietnam Airlines currently operates around 60 A321, 12 of which must be grounded for the engine maintenance.

Other airlines are struggling with restructuring.

Starting from March 18, Pacific Airlines (part of the Vietnam Airlines Group) suspends flight operations to restructure its fleet and flight network in an effort to ensure operational efficiency. After returning the aircrafts to clear debt, the airline will not operate any aircraft but rent from Vietnam Airlines.

Bamboo Airways is also undergoing a major restructuring. It has been shutting down all international flight routes and low-performing domestic routes since the end of last year, including routes from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to Con Dao starting from April.

Bamboo reached an agreement to terminate a lease contract on three Embraer E190 jets, narrow-body aircraft accommodating up to 114 passengers, by the end of March. The aircraft fleet of Bamboo will be reduced from the peak of 30 to only 8 from April 2024.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said that the reduction in the number of aircraft in operation would affect the air transport load this year.

The authority asked air carriers to have plans to make up for the shortage of jets, especially in peak periods such as summer holidays.

Airlines must announce adjustments of flight schedules daily and keep passengers updated.

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