Vietnam’s Air Carriers Grounded By Delays


A recently released report by Tan Son Nhat International Airport has highlighted a sharp increase in the number of delayed or canceled flights at the airport in the first half of this year.

A total of 13,493 flights operated by Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific took off 15 minutes later than scheduled, amounting to 24 percent of all flights from January to June.

Budget carrier VietJet Air topped the list with 6,682 delays, affecting 43.4 percent of its total flights. Jetstar Pacific saw 32.9 percent of its flights delayed and national carrier Vietnam Airlines with 10.4 percent.

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Other international carriers saw 2,087 delayed flights, making of 17.3 percent of their total flights.

Tan Son Nhat authorities have urged airlines to adjust their schedules to reduce delayed or canceled flights in the third quarter as it is the peak time for air travel in Vietnam.


Vietnam’s airline market is growing at the third fastest pace in Asia-Pacific. With a growing GDP and over 90 million people, Vietnam is projected to be one of the fastest growing aviation markets in Southeast Asia over the next 10-20 years.

Tan Son Nhat Airport accounts for 40 percent of all air passengers in Vietnam. It was originally designed to serve 20 million passengers per year, but it has already received more than 18 million passengers in just the first half of 2017.

Besides overloading, aviation authorities have also blamed the weather and technical issues for this year’s flight delays and cancellations.

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Rapid growth in air travel and the increasing number of airlines in recent years are the main reasons for the situation at Tan Son Nhat, which is particularly vulnerable to flooding and congested approach roads.

The country is working on a new massive airport in Dong Nai Province to take some of the load off of Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City.

Land clearance has begun for the planned Long Thanh International Airport, some 50 km from HCMC, but the new airport will not be operational until 2025.

“Delay airlines”

With a series of flight delays and cancellations this summer, including a six-hour delay by a VietJet Air flight at Noi Bai International Airport on May 29, many Vietnamese people took to social media to complain about low budget carriers.

They complained about the carrier's’ attitude towards passengers, poor services and low compensation rates in the case of delays and cancellations.

Vietnam now requires airlines to pay a maximum VND400,000 (US$17) a passenger for delays of domestic flights and US$150 for international flights. However, many passengers believe that carriers should pay more.

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According to EU flight regulations, EU-based carriers are required to pay passengers up to 600 euros, or nearly US$703, each for flight delays of more than three hours.

Among a wave of criticism, some have also argued that Vietnamese passengers should be patient because that is the cost of low-budget flights.

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