Vietnamese minister calls for tighter aviation security after series of scares

By Huu Nguyen   April 10, 2018 | 11:29 am GMT+7
Vietnamese minister calls for tighter aviation security after series of scares
Passengers walk to an aircraft for a flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City at Noi Bai Airport, January 12, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kham
A drunk Swedish man broke into an air traffic management company's offices, while a mental patient boarded a flight without a pass.

Recent aviation security breaches have prompted Vietnam's Ministry of Transport to demand tougher security measures and for those responsible to be held accountable.

Speaking at a meeting last week, Transport Minister Nguyen Van The called for fast response teams to be established at airports and aviation centers to prevent any further problems from happening.

On March 20, a drunk Swedish man was found breaking into offices of the Southern Air Traffic Management Company in Ho Chi Minh City. Security officers tried to stop him but he fought back and made his way inside the building, before being taken down and transferred to police.

Two weeks before that, a mental patient snuck onto a Vietnam Airlines flight from Vinh in central Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City without a boarding pass. An investigation found that the man had scaled a wall around the airport before bypassing security barriers to reach the aircraft.

These recent breaches are "extremely dangerous" and indicate that aviation security is vulnerable, a senior aviation official told VnExpress.

The break-in at the Southern Air Traffic Management Company, which monitors hundreds of flights every day, could have caused "devastating" consequences if the intruder had been armed, the official said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the security breaches were due to aviation employees not following protocols and were the responsibility of aviation service providers.

Vietnam has seen a recent boom in air travel. The country served more than 94 million air passengers in 2017, a 16 percent increase from the previous year.

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