Outcry over airport’s water pricing
HANOI, 1 August 2014: Free drinking water fountains will soon be set up in both domestic and international terminals at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport after facing criticism from passengers that the authoriites failed to provide essential services at reasonable prices.
The airport director, Vu The Phiet, told local media that the free drinking water tanks would be available at the airport’ airside areas on the instruction of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).
“It takes time to find suitable locations to install water tanks, where they can be protected from poorly educated passengers,” he said. He was referring to passengers who would misuse the fountains to wash their hands or rinse their faces.
The director expected the free water fountains will be placed in holding lounges where passengers congregate before boarding their flights.
During an inspection trip to Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports, last week, CAAV vice chief Vo Huy Cuong asked the airports to improve the quality of services and provide free drinking water for passengers in boarding areas.
“Passengers complained that they had to pay USD2 for a bottle of water at the airport, the price five-star hotels charge,” he said.
A bottle of drinking water outside of the airport sells for USD50 cents. The free drinking water service should start later this month.
Passengers are not allowed to take water from land to airside of the airport premises for security reasons. But once on airside, if they have an empty water bottle they could fill them at water fountains free of charge. At present the only option are the snack and drink counters that sell water at four to five tines what is charged at a landside location.
Passengers have criticised the airport on social media channels, claiming airport authorities are abusing their management privileges by overcharging passengers for essential services.