22:53 (GMT +7) - Tuesday 18/12/2018

Op-Eds

Taking Vietnam's aviation industry to greater heights

Released at: 13:53, 18/09/2018

Taking Vietnam's aviation industry to greater heights

Photo: Duc Anh

Honeywell offers aviation solutions that allow industry stakeholders to stay ahead of the curve.

by Mr. Brian Davis, Vice President, Airlines, Asia Pacific & Aerospace Leader, Honeywell International Sdn Bhd

Vietnam’s aviation industry - both the international and domestic aviation market - is becoming one of the fastest-growing in the world, driven by surging tourism and the country’s strong economic performance. Within the ASEAN region, it recorded the highest passenger growth rate in 2017, mainly due to international visitors - which saw phenomenal growth of about 30 per cent. Furthermore, this growth is by no means short-lived - by 2030, Vietnam is expected to have a staggering 280 million passengers per year. But what does this really mean for the country?

The growth in passenger demand presents boundless opportunities for Vietnam’s aviation industry. It facilitates tourism - one of its core pillars for economic growth - and creates jobs for local people. Surging travel demand also presents significant growth opportunities for local carriers, while opening the country’s doors to new investments and route expansion from foreign airlines - a presence that has already more than doubled over the past four years. This investment then leads to the transfer of important aviation-related skills, such as manufacturing and maintenance, to the local Vietnamese community.

However, the growing number of passengers is overcrowding Vietnam’s airports. For example, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City - the country’s largest - is already stretched way beyond its 25 million designed capacity, catering to 36 million visitors in 2017. Recognizing this as a pressing issue, the Vietnamese Government is taking steps to develop and upgrade its airports, such as adding two new terminals to Tan Son Nhat, which would eventually bump up its capacity to 70 million by 2025. Additionally, it is looking at the construction of Long Thanh International Airport to serve Ho Chi Minh City, which is projected to have a capacity of 100 million passengers.

While infrastructure like terminals and runways can be built or upgraded, there is one area of airport real estate that cannot be expanded: airspace. Currently, there is a limited number of air traffic routes - including take-off and landing trajectories - available to, from, and within Vietnam. As air traffic balloons, operational efficiency will likely decline, and congestion impact can present additional safety risks - unless the right air traffic management (ATM) technologies are put in place.

Leveraging technology to future-proof the aviation industry

Airport and airspace overcrowding are becoming increasingly apparent in countries that are seeing more and more aircraft take to the skies. Therefore, it is more crucial than ever for Vietnam to address these concerns by maximizing the safe and efficient use of its airspace and airports, before they become a barrier to the future growth of its aviation industry.

With over 100 years of industry experience, Honeywell understands these issues and has been applying its leadership and expertise in ATM and aviation technologies to pioneer solutions that support the modernization of the world’s airports and air traffic systems, thereby making flying safer, smarter, and more efficient. Investment in this technology is essential for Vietnam, as it serves as an interim solution to help airports cope with the rise in air traffic while upgrades and expansions are underway. Furthermore, installing ATM technologies at this juncture would mitigate the future impact on airport operability and functionality.

Maximizing growth in Vietnam’s aviation industry

Be it on the ground or in the air, deploying advanced ATM technologies can help increase airport safety, accessibility, and capacity while reducing operating costs. These benefits allow Vietnam to maximize growth potential, rather than simply cope with rising travel demand - in line with the country’s goal of leveraging Industry 4.0 to accelerate growth and modernization.

Aside from airports, airlines in Vietnam also need to look to smart technologies that can deliver significant cost savings, especially as the market landscape across ASEAN becomes increasingly competitive. With the proliferation of the Internet of Things and data analytics, there are a slew of technologies that give airlines a competitive edge. For example, Honeywell can provide airlines in Vietnam with connected aircraft solutions - such as predictive maintenance and flight efficiency software - that unlock savings, reduce operational costs, and improve the overall flying experience. These solutions present airlines with greater flexibility when tackling the challenges associated with rising costs, while allowing them to strategize for ways that help them stay ahead of the curve.

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