Vietnam planning new north-south air route

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Vietnam's aviation authorities are planning to launch a new route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in an effort to improve air traffic.

Speaking to Thanh Nien, Dinh Viet Thang, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said the new route will be one-way from north to south and will fly at a higher altitude than the current roundtrip route.

The new route will help to not only reduce flying time but also increase safety, Thang said.

The project, however, is still in its conceptual stage and will require further studies, Bui Van Vo, head of Flight Management Department under the CAAV, said, adding that they also need to conduct a study to determine which type of aircraft will be suitable for operating at such heights.

According to CAAV's report, thanks to the adjustments to routes and flying methods between 2008 and 2012, more than 307,000 flights have had their flying time reduced by nearly 16,000 hours.

Meanwhile, the main route between Hanoi and HCMC has yet to have its flying time reduced, CAAV said. It takes around two hours on average to fly between Vietnam's two largest cities.

In 2009, Mai Trong Tuan, a former pilot, and Tran Dinh Ba, an aviation expert, proposed shortening the route by having airplanes fly in a straight line.

However, the proposal was rejected by the CAAV as infeasible. 

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