Unidentified metal pieces threaten safety at Hanoi airport

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A hole in a dolly used to transport cargo at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport from which metal pieces are suspected to have fallen out, threatening aviation safety

Authorities at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport have warned of "severe" safety risk after metal pieces, suspected to have fallen off dollies used to move goods, were found in the cargo loading area just off the tarmac.

Tran Hoai Phuong, deputy director of the Northern Airport Authority, said Noi Bai security staff have been finding triangular metal pieces with three- to five-centimeter sides since late April, and on May 8 found similar pieces in dolly trailers used to transport cargo to and from aircraft, news website Dan Tri reported Saturday.

Phuong said the pieces -- around half a centimeter thick -- were found inside holes at the bottom of the trailers. The holes had been covered, but the covers have worn out and the pieces have been falling out.

"These metal pieces severely threaten aviation safety," Phuong said.

"An aircraft can only take off properly when all related factors such as ground security, staff, and fuel [are] in good order. One element not in order means problems for aircraft."

The metal pieces were found from 24 dollies bought from a local company in late 2010.

Phuong said it is not known yet what the metal pieces are used for, but it is suspected they were put there to increase the dollies' weight to required levels.

He said the case is being investigated further, but the trailers would continue to be used since they are safe and transport of cargo could not be delayed.

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