Saturday, 17 Nov 2018
OPINION

Honeywell keen on Vietnam’s aviation industry

Updated at Thursday, 18 Oct 2018, 09:52
The Hanoitimes - Vietnam’s aviation industry has much potential for stellar growth, but infrastructure constraints may dampen this growth. Honeywell Aerospace sees an opportunity to invest in technology that improves capacity at Vietnamese airports.
Brian Davis, vice president, Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace and Aerospace Leader for Honeywell International Sdn Bhd, talks to Hanoitimes on the opportunities as well as challenges in this industry.
 
Brian Davis, vice president, Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace. Photo: Honeywell Aerospace
Brian Davis, vice president, Airlines, Honeywell Aerospace. Photo: Honeywell Aerospace
Vietnam has pressing needs to build aviation infrastructure to meet rising traveling demand within and from/to the country. A number of airports will be constructed and upgraded in the coming years. For you, what are the challenges and opportunities that Vietnam faces to realize this ambitious plan?

Vietnam’s international and domestic aviation market has grown at a phenomenal rate in the last several years, driven by a surging tourism industry and the country’s strong economic performance. According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), the number of air passengers may reach 142 million by 2020, up from 94 million in 2017, translating to an annual growth rate of 14 percent.

While this increase in demand is great for Vietnam’s economy, the country’s airports may not be able to handle such rapid growth. For example, Tan Son Nhat — the country’s largest airport — is already stretched way beyond its 25-million design capacity, catering to 36 million visitors in 2017.

Recognizing this pressing issue, Honeywell sees an opportunity to invest in technology that improves capacity at Vietnam’s airports alongside the government’s plan to develop and upgrade its airports. These upgrade and expansion projects are expected to attract new airlines to Vietnam’s airports and encourage existing airlines to add new routes. In fact, foreign airline presence has already more than doubled in size over the past four years.

However, unlike airport capacity, airspace cannot be expanded. In another words, there are limited air traffic routes and approach trajectories available to, from and within Vietnam. Honeywell’s air traffic management (ATM) solutions can improve operational efficiency and safety within a limited airspace as the country’s air traffic expands.

Honeywell has been working with airlines, airports and regulators in Vietnam to better understand their challenges and is committed to help the country deploy the necessary ATM technologies to ensure it can sustain the growing number of airline passengers.

Funding will be one of the biggest hurdles for construction of aviation infrastructure in Vietnam in the context of the country’s rising public debt. For example, the would-be Long Thanh Airport near Ho Chi Minh City may cost some US$16 billion. What can Honeywell recommend Vietnam regarding this issue?

The construction of aviation infrastructure is a huge undertaking; however, Vietnam’s air passenger growth shows no signs of slowing down. According to the CAAV, the number of air passengers flying to, from and within Vietnam is projected to triple to 280 million per year by 2030.

As such, airport infrastructure is often regarded as a long-term investment that opens up opportunities for Vietnam’s aviation industry and leads to prosperity for the country. Opportunities can range from facilitating the growth of tourism, to creating jobs and transferring critical skills.

Even though there are many benefits of investing in airport infrastructure, construction and expansion projects are often complicated, and can take several years to complete, all while rising passenger demand continues to put a strain on already overcrowded airports.

Investments in ATM technologies are crucial for Vietnam. They can act as an interim solution for its airports to cope with the rise in air traffic, while airport upgrades and expansions are underway. Furthermore, installing ATM technologies at this juncture would help support the country’s long-term passenger growth and avoid potential impact on airport operability and functionality.

The Vietnamese government has repeatedly stated that the country will make full use of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. How should airports and airlines in Vietnam invest in technologies to deal with the projected growth?

New airports and enhancements of existing airport infrastructure are vital to help Vietnam cope with the rise in travel demand, and maximizing the safe and efficient use of airspace and runways needs to be a priority.

ATM technologies help make intelligent and connected airports a reality today for Vietnam, which can improve safety and efficiency for incoming and outgoing aircraft. Implementing these ATM technologies can help Vietnam enhance its airports’ access and capacity, improve routing efficiency, reduce operating costs and maximize safety.

Implementing advanced ATM technologies not only helps Vietnam achieve its goal to accelerate growth and modernization, but makes that growth sustainable through increasing airport safety, accessibility, efficiency and capacity. ATM technologies are focused on maximizing growth potential, rather than simply coping with rising travel demand.

Apart from airports, airlines in Vietnam also need to start leveraging smart technologies to achieve cost savings, especially as the ASEAN aviation landscape becomes increasingly competitive. Honeywell’s connected aircraft solutions — such as predictive maintenance and flight efficiency services — can unlock savings, reduce operational costs and improve overall flying experience for airlines in Vietnam.

Thank you very much!
Minh Anh
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