A working team has been set up to study the establishment of the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City straight air route over Laos and Cambodia.

Under a decision signed by Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the team will be led by Do Quang Viet, CAAV deputy head and comprised of 20 members, who represent concerned agencies from the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Transport.

They are tasked to work with the civil aviation authorities of Laos and Cambodia in researching the setting up of the Hanoi-HCM City straight route and related services.

At a meeting on straight air routes on September 10, Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has asked for more studies to be conducted for the Hanoi-HCM City route.

According to the CAAV’s report on the results of its flight simulator (SIM) test flights on the Hanoi-HCM City route over Laos and Cambodia, the proposed new route was 86km shorter than the current one, saving five minutes of flying time and 190kg of fuel.

The results were also verified by experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Minister Thang asked the CAAV to clarify the transit fees for crossing over Lao and Cambodian airspace.

He urged relevant agencies to continue working with the two countries to come to an agreement on this issue and report back on negotiation results in October.

In March 2009, the CAAV received a proposal for the Hanoi-HCM City straight air route from former pilot Mai Trong Tuan.

The proposed air route would mean flights between the capital and the southern economic hub traverse Lao and Cambodian airspace, rather than the ocean, no longer following Vietnam's "S" shaped coastline.-VNA