The aviation sector must define safety as the most crucial factor for its sustainable development, said Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

In his interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Thanh admitted that poor infrastructure and human resources is the main factor affecting aviation safety, which is the main cause of a series of recent incidents such as landing mistake, increasing flight delays and cancellations, and expensive aviation services.

“Frankly speaking, human resources fail to meet the sector’s development requirements, for example we do not have any pilot training centre and have to hire foreign pilots,” he said, adding that skilled technicians are also in shortage.

Thanh noted that the State and involved businesses have tried to mobilise investment in aviation infrastructure, but the low rate of return has deterred investors. Therefore, poor infrastructure remains the main obstacle to the sector’s development, he said.

According to the CAAV leader, the Ministry of Transport has launched a national flight safety programme with specific regulations on the obligations of State management agencies and businesses in the aviation sector.

It has also set up a series of mechanism on information control and collection and risk assessment as well as a safety management system for aviation businesses, airports and air service providers in line with requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The ministry has also announced a runway safety programme to prevent outside objects from entering runways.

“Therefore, I think we have put in place an adequate aviation safety system, and the question now is to raise our operating capacity,” Thanh said.

In order to fix the above-said shortcomings, the CAAV leader said the sector will implement a project to improve the operational efficiency of aviation infrastructure.

At the same time, he emphasised the need for the early construction of the Long Thanh International Airport to ease pressure for the Tan Son Nhat International Airport .

Reorganising air routes, establishing a north-south flying corridor, and shifting from radar to satellite for air traffic control are some of the solutions to facilitate aviation growth.

The sector will try to establish its own facilities for training pilots, air traffic controllers and technicians, Thanh said, adding that his agency is working on a project to improve the State management on civil aviation.

The equitisation of aviation businesses is also a measure to attract investment in improving fleets and equipment, he said.-VNA