Aviation safety a concern in Vietnam despite reduction in accidents

By Nguyen Quy   September 8, 2020 | 05:28 pm PT
Aviation safety a concern in Vietnam despite reduction in accidents
A Vietjet aircraft that slid off the runway and into the grass field at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, June 14, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/E.Cuong.
Vietnam saw a significant decrease in the number of aviation accidents in January-August amid limited air travel due to Covid-19, but some serious cases underlined that safety remains a concern.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) said Tuesday that there were 36 incidents in the first eight months of this year, down 45 percent year-on-year. However, among these were two accidents deemed "serious" and six others carrying a high level threat to aviation safety, Giao Thong, the Transport Ministry's news website, reported.

The administration said 17 of the incidents were caused by human error and 14 others were due to technical errors. One incident was caused by bad weather conditions and the remaining four are still under investigation.

One of the two "serious incidents" was the explosion of a tire as a Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321 took off from HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Phnom Penh in Cambodia in March. No passenger was injured.

The other serious accident happened when a Vietjet Air aircraft carrying 217 passengers skidded off the runway and into a grassy bank upon landing in Tan Son Nhat from Phu Quoc Island last June. The airline blamed the incident on unfavorable weather conditions, but aviation authorities are still investigating it.

Airports across Vietnam served 14.6 million passengers in the first six months this year, down 46 percent from the same period last year.

The country has suspended international flights since late March, while several social distancing periods also limited domestic air travel.

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