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Seaplane Operator Seeks Permission To Takeoff From Hanoi’s West Lake

Quang Ninh Province authorities are seeking permission from the Ministry of Transport to allow a Vietnamese aviation company to use the city’s iconic West Lake as a takeoff point for it’s Hanoi-Ha Long Bay seaplane service, reports Tuoi Tre.

The flights, which were launched last month by Hai Au Aviation, cut down travel time from the capital to the UNESCO heritage site to 45-60 minutes at a cost of VND5 million each way (the trip typically takes 3-4 hours by road). Planes are currently required to depart from Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport which lies 30km from downtown Hanoi.

“Tourists have to travel from downtown Hanoi to the airport, then return to the city, to be able to enjoy the seaplane service,” said Nguyen Van Doc, chairman of Quang Ninh Province, adding that “the total time the customers need to travel to and fro the airport, plus the flying time, is no shorter than the time it takes to drive from the capital to Ha Long City by road.”

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To eliminate the need to travel to the airport and provide a more direct route, which would cut the flight to 30 minutes, Doc has called on ministries to allow planes to take off from Tay Ho District’s West Lake, which accommodated a similar service during French occupation.

Hai Au Aviation, Vietnam’s sixth, said that it hopes to add routes from Ho Chi Minh City to Khanh Hoa, Binh Thuan, Can Tho, An Giang, Con Dao and Phu Quoc.

The company’s Director, Tran Trong Minh, had previously stated that there were also plans for a Ho Chi Minh City – Phan Thiet – Nha Trang route.

While a novel idea, it’s hard to imagine planes taking off in the middle of Hanoi’s bustling city center.

[Tuoi Tre]

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