Vietnam cargo surge may suffer

THE Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam’s (CAAV) predictions that the cargo market will grow by at least 20 per cent this year could be crushed by the news of airline setbacks at the tail end of 2010.

Since 2007 Vietnam’s aviation industry has welcomed a number of new private carriers including VietJet Air, Air Mekong, Trai Thien Air Cargo and Blue Sky, but performance has been less than fruitful.

In late 2010 Vietjet Air postponed flights several times, Trai Thien Air Cargo experienced difficulties keeping to schedule, Blue Sky has not launched its first flight and Air Mekong got to a belated October start.

Meanwhile Indochina Airlines is preparing to appear in court, with debts nearing VND70 billion (US$3.3 million). Indochina Airlines’ fuel supplier Viet Nam Air Petro Co (Vinapco) has sued Indochina for a debt at VND24 billion. Ticket sales agents and the carrier’s employees are also commencing legal proceedings against the airline.

Not to be overshadowed, 2010 was a productive year for the air cargo sector in Vietnam. Air cargo shipments in Vietnam rose 30 per cent in 2010 against 2009 volumes with a total of 460,000 tons carried by Vietnamese and foreign carriers.

This is a significant change to 2009 when the recession meant cargo growth in the country could not exceed 2 per cent.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines accounted for 166,300 tons on its domestic and international flights, a year-on-year hike of 43.9 per cent.

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