NEW airline regulations have taken effect in Vietnam, requiring carriers to offer greater compensation than before to passengers on domestic flights that are significantly delayed.
Airlines must now pay travellers between 200,000 and 400,000 Vietnamese dong (US$9 to US$18) for in-country flights that take off four or more hours behind schedule. International penalties remain at their previous amounts of US$25 to US$150, depending on the flight distance.
Vietnamese carriers have been under scrutiny recently for frequent delays. According to a report released last week by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), more than 21 per cent of all departures in the country took off behind schedule in July, up nearly six per cent from June.
The report cited an inability to manage high-season passenger capacity. Most of the late departures were the result of a domino effect caused by late incoming aircraft, according to the CAAV.
Weather also contributed to the high number of delays, however. Heavy rains flooded parts of Vietnam last month. One of the two runways at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport was closed for repairs for four days after it was struck by lightning.
Inclement weather is one of several circumstances under which airlines are exempt from the new rule. Other exemptions include delays due to security concerns and passenger medical emergencies.