Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang has pushed for more studies to be conducted on straight air routes, including between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

He made this request during a meeting in Hanoi on September 10 to discuss the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV)’s report on the results of its test flights on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route over Laos and Cambodia, also known as the “Golden Air Route.”

According to the CAAV report, flight simulator (SIM) tests showed 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 emphasised that shortening routes was one of a number of important measures to help businesses to cut costs and optimise their operational efficiency, thus providing better services for customers at a reasonable price.

Minister Thang asked the CAAV to clarify the transit fees for crossing over Laotian 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.

Meanwhile, CAAV leader Lai Xuan Thanh pointed out various technical difficulties, as well as the need for further negotiations on flight altitude and transit fees.

At the same time, Dinh Viet Thang, Director General of the Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation, proposed only changing the route for Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi flights, and keeping the traditional route in place for Hanoi-HCMC flights.

Phan Xuan Duc, Deputy Director General of Vietnam Airlines, said the company had adjusted 20 air routes in the last five years, saving 4,300 hours of flying time.

He stressed that even five minutes of saved flying time was worth considering, however, he said it was necessary to work more closely with Laos and Cambodia to ensure economic efficiency and safety.

In March 2009, the CAAV received a proposal for the Hanoi-HCM City "Golden 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.

During the meeting, Minister Thang also asked for Hanoi-Phu Quoc flights to be rerouted via Laos and Cambodia, which could reportedly save 21 minutes.-VNA