Air Mekong loses wings

HANOI, 19 January 2015: Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has revoked the air transport licence of Air Mekong as the private airline has failed to submit a plan for restructuring its business.

Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam head, Lai Xuan Thanh, told local media that Air Mekong had not made any move to resume operations despite the transport ministry and the CAAV setting favourable conditions for the airline to do this.

Air Mekong entered the domestic aviation market in October 2010 and remained operational until 1 March 2013 when it announced that it was suspending its operations and restructuring its fleet.

inside no 2A government decree issued in 2013 stated that the business licence of any airline that stopped operations for 12 consecutive months would be revoked.

In order to avoid losing its licence, Air Mekong submitted a plan for resuming operations and renewing its air operator’s certificate (AOC) with CAAV in late March 2014.

The airline also petitioned the transport ministry to extend its licence at the end of last year. Its proposal was accepted at the time, but on the condition that it present detailed plan to resume services.

However, Air Mekong failed to meet the conditions.

The private airline incurred losses of around USD42 million. The airline took to the skies in October 2010 using four Bombardier CRJ-900 planes for services connecting Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Con Dao, Dalat, Pleiku, Buon Ma Thuot, Haiphong and Vinh.

Air Mekong is the second private airline to lose its licence. The ministry withdrew the licence of debt-laden Indochina Airlines in December 2011, two years after it stopped services.

VietJetAir is now the only private airline flying commercial services. Other airlines on the domestic market are Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Aviation Services Co. (Vasco).