The Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam (CAAV) has intervened in the dispute between Viet Nam Airlines and a passenger saying the latter can sue the national carrier if he can back his allegations with evidence.
by Le Hung Vong
The passenger on flight VN1169 from Ha Noi to HCM City on Monday night was escorted out by security forces after flight attendants complained that he was causing trouble.
Le Minh Khuong accused flight attendants of unfairly reporting that he was shouting and "causing trouble," leading to security forces escorting him out of the aircraft. Viet Nam Airlines said they took the action to ensure safety for the flight and other passengers.
Lai Xuan Thanh, deputy head of CAAV, said the passenger would be fined as he was found violating flight security regulations, but he could sue Viet Nam Airlines if he had proof he was slandered by the flight attendants.
The trouble began early Tuesday morning when VNA1169 had to make an unscheduled stop in Da Nang due to bad weather in HCM City. Khuong, a Taewondo coach, and his father, asked the crew to leave the aircraft and were denied permission.
Chief pilot Ivanov and chief of the cabin crew Trinh Thi Hoa refused, saying this would further delay takeoff.
When the aircraft prepared to take off, Khuong allegedly began to shout and refused to return to his seat in economy class. Eileen Tan, a passenger in business-class seat 1C, said he had occupied her seat and refused to give it up.
The crew decided to return to the terminal and notified security personnel accordingly, said Tu Van Suu of Da Nang Airport Security Services Company.
Four officers boarded the plane and asked Khuong to leave. When he refused, they forcibly brought him out, but they did not assault him, Suu said in a report.
Khuong said the security men handled him and his 70-year-old father in a ‘physically rough' way.
According to the Central Airports Authority, Khuong could face a fine of between VND500,000 to VND1 million (US$47,619) for failing to comply with security rules on board the flight or a fine of VND1 to 3 million for causing disorder and not maintaining discipline during the flight.
On Thursday, Khuong said what he needs is an apology, not compensation for the insults he suffered in the case, from Viet Nam Airlines.
Vinalines losses $800,000
The State-owned Viet Nam Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has come under fire after it had to pay $800,000 last Friday to get back its cargo ship, Vinalines Global, that was detained in a commercial dispute with China.
The payment was made in accordance with a decision made by a Chinese court, Vinalines' general director Nguyen Canh Viet said last Thursday.
According to Vinalines, the 73,350 DWT Vinalines Global, Viet Nam's largest cargo vessel – was hired by an Indian company which failed to pay its transportation fees. To force payment of the fees, Vinalines HCM City, operator of the cargo ship, decided to keep the goods on board.
But these goods belonged to a Chinese company who said the transportation fee had already been paid to the Indian firm.
Last Friday, a Chinese court concluded that Vinalines was wrong and had to compensate the goods' owner by Thursday, or it would order the ship sold.
Vinalines affirmed that it had lost the commercial dispute but would still demand that the Indian firm repays the transportation fees.
The cargo ship has been released and was now en route to its home port, the company said.
Local media reports have expressed concerns about the shipping company's handling of the case.
The Sai Gon Tiep Thi (Sai Gon Marketing) newspaper said Vinalines was too "trusting" to let the ship go to China while the transportation fees were yet to be paid by the Indian firm.
"It is incredible that Vinalines was not informed that Vinalines Global had been re-chartered by the Indian firm before it headed to China," an unnamed shipping expert was quoted by Sai Gon Marketing as saying.
EVN to get power grid free
The Hiep Phuoc Power Co. (HPP) has agreed to hand over its grid to Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) for free in a deal under which the national utility will buy all power produced by the former at a fixed price.
HPP was willing to transfer its 15kV, 22kV, 110 kV and 110kV/15kV transformers in the Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park and Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone to EVN, according to Pham Hong Tien, head of the HPP's Operation Division.
He said EVN would also discuss with Phu My Hung Co a similar transfer of transmission lines built by the latter in the Phu My Hung Urban Area.
Tien said HPP will operate and maintain the 110kV transmission line and related grids and manage customers for free until EVN can operate it.
Later, all contracts signed between HPP and its customers would be renewed by EVN.
Explaining the offer in a letter sent to city authorities last Tuesday, HPP General Director Zhang Yin Fu said it aimed to ensure uninterrupted power supply for the clients.
EVN should take over the power grid and sell power to all HPP customers from early May, Fu said.
If the plan was approved by EVN, it could supply power immediately to Hiep Phuoc IP, Tan Thuan EPZ and Phu My Hung Urban Area without making any additional investment, said Tien.
In return, Tien said, EVN should purchase all the power from HPP's 375MW plant for US$0.17 per kilowatt hour.
Currently, half of HPP's electricity output is bought by EVN and the remainder is sold to other customers five to 7.5 cents per kWh.
The proposal to hand over HPP's transmission facilities was made after the company's warning that power supply to Hiep Phuoc IP would be suspended from May 1 due to financial problems (caused by fuel price hikes) that it was facing.
The Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted an unnamed Government official as saying that the negotiation would last for months because the prices demanded by HPP were three to four times higher than the prices at which EVN was buying electricity from other plants in the country.
On April 21, HCM City asked the Government to establish a team comprising officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and EVN to assess the proposals from HPP so that the latter's power grid could be handed over as soon as possible. — VNS