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PM says no to ’golden’ flight route   2009-12-15 - Viet Nam News

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called off a proposal to open a new flight route along the 106th meridian after consultations with the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND).

Former pilot Mai Trong Tuan recommended what he called 'the golden flight route' because he predicted the 142km reduction in flight distance between Ha Noi and HCM City would save VND550 billion (US$30.5 million) in fuel costs each year.

Tuan, 71, who was one of the first pilots in the airforce, raised the idea last March. His idea of flying a straight route between the two cities, over Laos and Cambodia, instead of veering over the East Sea, was praised by public media, scientists and people. However, after careful study by the Viet Nam Civil Aviation Administration, officials concluded that his route was not feasible.

A MoT study found that shortened flights between the two cities would actually cost more because of the extra expenses for travelling in Lao and Cambodian airspace.

The ministry confirmed with PM Dung that Tuan's suggestion was based on cursory professional and technical knowledge, adding that it would not result in any economic efficiency and would also hinder national security and defence.

MoT also said the route could threaten flight safety by creating air traffic control difficulties.

Representatives from the MND said the route would affect security when planes flew over no-fly zones in Ha Noi and Bien Hoa.

Dung has assigned the two ministries to complete an airway system under existing regulations and laws to include both socio-economic benefits and national security and defence.

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