VIETNAM: Vietnam’s first private cargo carrier struggling

Trai Thien, Vietnam’s first private cargo airline, is now reportedly meeting financial difficulties, according to a report in Vietnam Business News. The air cargo carrier has not paid salaries to its staff for the last five months. Headquartered in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City the company received a license from the […]


Trai Thien, Vietnam’s first private cargo airline, is now reportedly meeting financial difficulties, according to a report in Vietnam Business News. The air cargo carrier has not paid salaries to its staff for the last five months. Headquartered in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City the company received a license from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam – after securing approval from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung – in October 2009 to operate freight services in Vietnam and on international routes throughout Southeast Asia.


On a wing and prayer – Vietnam’s first private air cargo carrier, Trai Thien struggles to get airborne and tap the burgeoning Vietnamese air cargo market. Trai Thien originally had planned to take off in July 2010, but for unknown reasons delayed the first commercial flight until the beginning of September. But to-date, there has been no sign that the airline will take off and local newspaper VnExpress published reports that some of Trai Thien’s workers have said they have not received monthly salaries since April prompting a number of key employees to quit the company. The company has reportedly committed to pay outstanding salaries by 15 November. “If the airline does not provide services within two years since the day it received license, CAAV will have the right to request the airline to explain, while it will have reasons to revoke the transportation right of the airline,” Vo Huy Cuong, head of the Air Transport Division under the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV). Cuong also said that Trai Thien had submitted the preliminary flight plan, but CAAV ruled that Trai Thien’s aircraft did not meet the requirements and the flight plans were rejected. In September Trai Thien said it would deploy two Boeing B737-300’s capable of carrying 18 tonnes of cargo, on a route between Hong Kong, Hanoi, HCM City and Singapore. At the time Trai Thien chairman Nguyen Quoc Khanh said the new airline expected to break even by next year, according to the report. Vietnam’s air cargo market has considerable potential and according to the CAAV, it has been growing rapidly in the last few years with forty-four international airlines now operating in the country, carrying both passengers and cargo. Nine of these employ freighters, including Korean Air, Taiwan’s Eva Air and China Airlines, Qantas, Cargolux (Luxembourg), FedEx (US), Singapore Airlines Cargo and Shanghai Air Cargo. The volume of air cargo increased from 166,000 tonnes in 2005 to 248,000 tonnes in 2009, a growth of 10.6 per cent. With the ongoing global economic recovery the growth has accelerated this year with air cargo shipments in the first seven months up 43.8 per cent over the same period of 2009.