Published On: Sat, Oct 16th, 2010

Trai Thien air cargo carrier in big trouble

Trai Thien, a private Vietnamese cargo airline, is now reportedly meeting financial difficulties. The air carrier has not paid salaries to its staff for the last five months. Meanwhile, the difficulties have forced the airline to change flight schedule regularly.

Trai Thien got the license to provide air cargo transportation services in October 2009. The airline with the legal capital of 500 billion dong is expected to be the first airline in Vietnam which uses specialized aircrafts to carry cargo.

At first, Trai Thien planned to take off in July 2010. However, due to some reasons, the airline decided to delay the first commercial flight until the beginning of September. However, to date, there has been no sign showing that the airline will take off.

Meanwhile, local newspaper VnExpress has received complaints from some Trai Thien’s workers, who said they have not received monthly salaries since April. Especially, the workers even told VnExpress that the finance director of Trai Thien himself has also not received salaries over the last six months.

The tardiness in salary payment has prompted a lot of workers to quit the job. Even the people who held key positions of the company have also left for other jobs.

Trai Thien’s Deputy Director Le Giang Long admitted that the airline is meeting some financial difficulties, which has led to the tardiness in paying salaries to labourers.

“In such current conditions, both the leadership and workers need to stand side by side to build up the company and prepare for the first commercial flight,” Long said.

Long said after receiving the information from VnExpress that Trai Thien’s employees complained about the salaries, Trai Thien had a working session with the employees, where an agreement was reached. The leadership has committed to pay salaries to labourers by November 15 at the latest.

Vo Huy Cuong, Head of the Air Transport Division under the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) said Trai Thien has not officially provided services yet, therefore, CAAV cannot ask the airline to report its operation.

“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,” Cuong said.

Cuong revealed that Trai Thien once submitted the preliminary flight plan, but CAAV found out that Trai Thien’s aircrafts still could not meet the requirements and they were too old. Therefore, the plan was rejected by CAAV.

One month ago, in its statement, Trai Thien said it will deploy two Boeing B737-300’s. The planes can carry 18 tons of cargo, in the immediate time of operation, it fly between Hong Kong, Hanoi, HCM City and Singapore.

Trai Thien Chairman Nguyen Quoc Khanh then said the new airline expected to break even by next year.

Vietnam’s air cargo market is considered as having great potentials. CAAV confirms that Vietnam’s international air cargo market has been growing quite rapidly. Forty-four international airlines carry both passengers and cargo. Nine use some all-cargo planes: Korean Air, Taiwan’s Eva Air and China Airlines, Qantas, Cargolux (Luxembourg), FedEx (US), Singapore Air Cargo and Shanghai Air Cargo.

The volume of air cargo increased from 166,000 tons in 2005 to 248,000 tons in 2009, average yearly growth of 10.6 percent. This year, growth has accelerated. Shipments in the first seven months of 2010 were up 43.8 percent over the same period of 2009.- VnExpress

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