Vietnam's new private aircraft put to test

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Personal aircraft imported by a private firm passed technical tests during trial flights in Hanoi on Saturday.

Two of the four 2-seat aircrafts imported by the Ho Chi Minh City-based distributor of cleaning appliances Hanh Tinh Xanh (Green Planet) were tested under the direction of national air defense officials, Vietnam Cable Television reported.

The aircraft, including two flat wing planes made by Czech manufacturer ATEC and two helicopters from the US's Rotoway, will continue to be tested at the Hoa Lac Airport until August 30 before flight licenses are issued.

Cao Tien Doan, a board member of Hanh Tinh Xanh, said the aircraft is a new and practical means of transport for businessmen.

"They will also serve island tours, geological surveys, and rescue operations in case of floods and other natural disasters," Doan said.

The aircraft arrived in Vietnam in October last year.

Lai Xuan Thanh, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration, told news website VnExpress in an interview last November that Vietnam is ready for the growth of personal aircraft.

Vietnam has enough airports to accommodate private aircraft, and will expand its major airports if necessary, he said.

The country has at least two other private aircraft belonging to Doan Nguyen Duc, one of the country's richest men and owner of Vietnam's second largest listed real estate firm Hoang Anh Gia Lai, and Tran Dinh Long, who owns the Hoa Phat Group, Vietnam's largest listed steel producer.

Duc claims to spend around VND300 million (US$14,300) every month operating his $5.1 million plane.

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