Flight simulations of a so called “golden flight path” showed that the new route only saved five minutes compared to the current flight path, a Vietnam Airlines said Thursday.
Pilots from the national air carrier were enlisted to run flight simulations of the “golden flight path,” which cuts a straight line through Laos and Cambodia to connect Vietnam’s two biggest cities.
The new flight path is 85 kilometers shorter than the current route, according to figures on the simulators. However, pilots said that they had to decelerate earlier than on the current path, which resulted in little change in total flight time.
Vietnam Airlines said they have tested both types of plane used on the route: the Boeing 777 and Airbus 321.
Meanwhile, a national Civil Aviation Authority’s officer told Vnexpress that Vietjet Air had run a simulation of their Airbus 320 in Bangkok on Tuesday.
Vietjet Air has yet to release the results of the test run.
The simulations were run to determine whether the 1,140-kilometer straight shot from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi (through the airspace of Laos and Cambodia) saves more time and fuel than the traditional flight path, which is 1,274 kilometers in long.
According to Vietnam Airlines director Pham Ngoc Minh, the golden flight path may not save as much as expected since Laos administrators would not let Vietnam’s planes reach their priority height while crossing through their airspace.
Flying at a lower height would require more fuel from a Boeing 777 than its priority height, experts said.
Flight administration fees, paid to Lao and Cambodia administrators could create additional expense, if the two neighboring countries don't offer a discount. Representatives from Vietnam's airlines said they have asked the two countries’ flight administrators to reduce those fees by 35 and 50 percent to seal the deal.
The golden path flight was the brainchild of Dr. Tran Dinh Ba whose calculations suggested it would save roughly 26 minutes in the air and 25 percent of the fuel expended on the current route, which takes two hours.
When Ba first proposed the new path in 2012, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam dismissed it as scientifically unsound.