The director of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi issued a public apology and pledged to improve the quality of service at the country’s second biggest airport, news website Dan Tri reported.
Mr. Vu The Phiet made his comments during a meeting on aviation security and quality chaired by Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang on Thursday.
During the proceedings, Phiet said Noi Bai deserved to be placed fifth on a list of Asia’s Top Ten Worst Airports.
He was referring to a list recently published by The Guide to Sleeping in Airports (www.sleepinginairports.net) a travel blog maintained by a Canadian woman.
The survey, though little known to foreign media, made local headlines and sparked a national dialogue.
“I apologize to passengers for the services at Noi Bai. The services are poor because of both the airport’s poor infrastructure and the quality of our staff,” he said.
Phiet said Noi Bai is the one of 22 airports in Vietnam that operates at its double capacity, which places significant strain on staff and facilities.
He said the building of a new terminal recently turned Noi Bai into a crowded construction site, leaving many passengers uncomfortable and nonplussed.
The airport’s management board has taken drastic measures to improve the quality of its staff, according to Phiet.
“Over the last six months, around 10 employees have been fired and around 40 were demoted for poor performances.
“We started polling passenger in April and the results showed that the majority are displeased with the airport’s cleanliness, followed by a dearth of trolleys and hard to understand loudspeakers.”
He explained that many of the poor services were provided by state-owned firms, adding that the airport has allowed private companies to bid on contracts to provide some services at the airport.
The Guide to Sleeping in Airport's respondents described Noi Bai as being hot, chaotic and not especially clean.
“In spite of its tropical location, air conditioning seems to perpetually be a problem - and the constant crowds exacerbate overheating,” the site charged, adding that sweaty travelers are further frustrated by the poor signage and limited flight information.
The site claimed the airport lacked some key facilities – including foreign exchange bureaus and sufficient chairs.
But it also stated that just before publication, the airport installed 14 sleep pods in its international terminal and now offers free Wifi.
Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the biggest airport in Vietnam, was ranked eighth on the list and generally described as functional and reasonable.
Facilities are generally average, and cleanliness levels fluctuate, according to the survey.