Vietnam's $52-mln proposal to clear birds from major airports raises eyebrows

By Doan Loan   August 1, 2016 | 07:51 pm PT
Vietnam's $52-mln proposal to clear birds from major airports raises eyebrows
Photo by VnExpress/Doan Loan
The project has been dismissed as unfeasible and economically unsound.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has asked the Ministry of Transport to approve a proposal to install an advanced automated Foreign Object Debris detection system (FODetect) at the country's two main airports.

The system, costing about VND1.16 trillion ($52 million), would be funded by the Progressive Corporation International (AIC), a joint stock company previously under the Ministry of Transport.

The system will be able to quickly detect foreign objects and wildlife hazards, including birds, to improve safety for aircraft at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City.

At the moment, foreign objects and wildlife hazards in Vietnam’s airports are identified and handled by airport staff.

Airlines in Vietnam have experienced several incidents where birds have crashed into planes and caused damage. ACV has applied various measures to chase away birds from the country’s airports, but none of them have worked.

The investor’s investment capital would be returned within six and a half years by charging a fee of $35 for international flights and $17 for domestic flights to and from the airports.

But the proposal has raised eyebrows.

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said that ACV should study the feasibility of the proposal, clarifying the total investment, fee for each flight and capacity of the FODetect system.

The CAAV pointed fingers at the proposal to levy fees on each flight, dismissing it as economically unsound.

An aviation expert said on condition of anonymity that the proposal to install the FODetect system at Noi Bai and Ton Son Nhat is irrational as there are not many birds living near the two airports. 

Most of the incidents where birds crash airplanes in Vietnam occur at airports in mountainous areas, including some in the Central Highlands and one in the southern province of Ca Mau, the expert said.

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