Stiffer penalties proposed to improve aviation safety

August 20, 2009

LookAtVietnam – The Civil Aviation Administration of Viet Nam has proposed that penalties for flight violations be increased to improve safety standards onboard aircraft.

Up to June this year, fines totalling VND300 million were meted out to passengers, staff and airlines for breaches to airline safety regulations.

Recently, a 14-year-old boy opened an emergency door just before the take off on a Jetstar Pacific flight from Ha Noi to HCM City, resulting in a five-hour delay. The airline had to have the door fixed overseas.

Under the proposal, which would replace Decree 91 on administrative sanctions for civil aviation violations, the fine for tampering with exit doors would be VND10-20 million (US$550-1,100).

There have been seven similar cases in the past two years, according to Nguyen Trong Thang, the CAAV’s chief inspector.

“This is nightmare for airlines, and these violations seem to be increasing,” said Thang.

Decree 91 did not stipulate specific fines for these kinds of actions, so the department must work out stricter punishments to improve the situation, he said.

The CAAV’s proposal would also raise fine levels for smoking on a plane from the current maximum of VND1 million ($56) to between VND1 million-VND5 million ($56-$280).

“It [smoking] happens frequently, especially on long-haul flights. Most smokers don’t understand how dangerous it could be,” said Nguyen Quoc Huy, a Vietnam Airlines’ steward.

The draft proposal also stipulates fine levels for using mobile phones after takeoff.

“These violations occur frequently, and all we can do is to continue to remind people of the safety requirements,” Huy said.

Fines for airline staff will also be adjusted to improve safety awareness. In addition, the airline could also be fined for negligence by its staff.

Up to June this year, fines totalling VND300 million ($16,700) were meted out to passengers, staff and airlines for breaches to airline safety regulations, according to CAAV.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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