The Government has limited to 89 the number of additional aircraft that four domestic carriers can purchase by the year 2020 (Photo: viettimes.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Government has limited to 89 the number of additional aircraft that four domestic carriers can purchase by the year 2020.

Major airports in the country do not have the infrastructure to deal with a greater number, according to the Government.

The latest aircraft purchase quota is contained in the draft Vietnam Strategy on Development of Air Transportation Products and Civil Reserve Air Fleet 2016-2020, submitted to the Ministry of Transport by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

Under the draft proposal, by 2020, Vietnam will have 230 civil airplanes, an increase of 89 over the current fleet of 141.

The four domestic carriers had actually planned to buy a total of 199 airplanes by 2020, led by Vietnam Airlines (including VASCO), 114, VietJet Air, 55, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, 30.

Explaining the quota, Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the civil aviation authority told the Vietnam Government Portal (VGP) that current infrastructure failed to meet the demand of aviation growth.

There was a shortage of airplane parking space at several airports, he said.

Thanh said the carriers should adjust their purchase plans based on the draft because of limited parking slots in Hanoi and HCM City airports.

It would take some time to expand the parking areas, he said, adding “It won’t happen in a day.”

Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia agreed with Thanh that the quota was based on limited infrastructure.

Nghia said although the infrastructure of Tan Son Nhat International Airport was overburdened, the civil aviation authority had given carriers licences to operate more flights.

It is estimated that the airport has received 32 million passengers since early this year, while the annual target was just 25 million.

The civil aviation agency had been asked to tighten the issue of licences for additional flights, he said.

Thanh said that to meet travel demand during the Lunar New Year 2017 season, the carriers planned to run an additional 1,285 flights, nearly 30 per cent higher than normal, including 1,168 flights carrying passengers to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The additional flights would operate between 11pm and 7am, however, jams might get worse at the airport, he said.

Asked if the draft quota would curb the carriers’ growth, Thanh said the draft applied only until 2020, a short time from now, so it would not affect the carriers much.

The aviation sector has been growing by 20 percent per year for several years now, according to the Transport Ministry.

In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh during a December 5 visit to the Noi Bai International Airport, ordered the transport ministry to adjust aviation development plans according to infrastructure capacity, to ensure sustainable growth.-VNA