Max Buerger, head of Alpha Aviation Group, has shared his insights on the recent surge in Vietnam’s aviation industry.
The news that Vietjet Air, Vietnam’s first private budget airline is doubling its passengers in 2016 is a big boost to the country according to Mr Buerger.
Crude oil prices have remained low and aren’t expected to rise in the near future. Vietnamese airlines have capitalised well on this fact especially Vietjet which purchased nine planes last year, is adding 12 more this term and seeks to reach 100 in the next five years.
Vietnam’s aviation industry will see a rapid rise for sure, but budding pilots are the ones given the best opportunity to prosper. As airplanes increase in number and the comfort levels increase, more and more passengers would prefer air travel, directly improving the nation’s aviation industry.
For now, Vietnamese commercial aviation sector is not going in the expected direction because there’s a shortage of pilots, especially when it comes to local talent. This leads to over-reliance on foreign pilots as seen in the case of Vietnamese airlines where 360 out of 800 pilots are foreign nationals whereas 95% of them are non-Vietnamese in Jetstar Pacific Airlines. Civil Aviation Administration has resorted to plans like increasing the retirement age of pilots.
But things aren’t that grey. Vietnam has 40 million people below the age of 24, and with heavy investments in science and technology, we can expect a rise in aviation enthusiasts.
The government, private sector or airline companies are not solely responsible for this problem, because the pilot training infrastructure in Vietnam is lacking, to say the least and the priority should be to fix that.
Boeing is rapidly extending its global fleet and states that its commercial pilot requirement will rise to 558,000 till 2034. With Asia’s market also growing constantly, Vietnam now has a chance to really leave a mark in the aviation sector.
A nationwide love for science and technology should be promoted and strategies to tap these opportunities need to be formed.
Alpha Aviation Group is a leading Asian pilot training provider that has the likes of entrepreneur and businessman Bhanu Choudhrie amongst its board of directors.