How do you regard those who protested the poor aircraft maintenance at Jetstar Pacific? How much responsibility must former General Director of Jetstar Pacific, Luong Hoai Nam, take for the present scandal? What should be done with airline managers who deliberately hid the truth about poor maintenance? These were questions raised by VietNamNet in an interview with Jetstar Pacific’s General Director, Le Song Lai, on January 13, 2010.
General Director Le Song Lai: CAAV has pointed out problems in aircraft maintenance and employment. We think that this is a regrettable trouble that badly affects the image and prestige of the airline. We have promptly begun following the CAAV proposals to settle aircraft maintenance problems as quickly as possible, plus improve aircraft maintenance quality to restore passengers’ confidence.
We are completely aware of the responsibility of an air carrier in ensuring safe flights for passengers and balancing the relationship between doing business and ensuring aviation safety. Aviation safety must be the top priority, above any trade or financial issues.
Lai: As the current General Director, I can affirm that the company’s management board does not accept any compromise that may influence aviation safety.
By the way, Kwan Yuan Yue from Singapore has been named as the new Deputy General Director of Jetstar Pacific to replace Daniella.
Mr. Kwan Ywan Yue has experience from many years of working for foreign airlines and will have the responsibility of coordinating with the management board to settle existing company issues.
Lai: I think it is necessary to clarify the dismissal. If their dismissal was well-founded, but there were shortcomings in procedures, we will have to follow current laws and company’s regulations in dismissing employees. If the dismissal was groundless, the airline must accept them as employees again, if they wish to continue working for JP and the airline needs the positions filled.
In all cases, the company commits to ensure the legitimate rights of workers.
To date, Jetstar Pacific has not received any petition from other workers on contract termination.
Lai: In airlines or any other businesses, there is always key staff assigned to take care of one or some fields, depending on the companies’ structure. Those who must take the main responsibility has been clearly defined by CAAV, and I would like not to comment.
Lai: CAAV’s report clearly stated that CAAV did not find proof showing that JP leaders instructed their officers to hide aircraft problems. This means that the problems were created by individuals who did not report to the JP leadership.
Lai: Right after receiving the preliminary findings of CAAV’s inspectors, we have been taking a lot of drastic measures in order to ensure safety provided by Jetstar Pacific.
We have asked for CAAV’s permission to hire an experienced Vietnamese officer for the post of technical quality director, who will replace the person CAAV has suggested we not use any more.
Jetstar Pacific plans to train Vietnamese citizens to take the posts now held by foreigners. We have accredited an experienced foreign officer to the post of technical quality deputy director. This officer will assist the Vietnamese director during the transition period.
Regarding the upgrades of facilities for aircraft maintenance, Jetstar Pacific has signed a contract to lease a hangar at Tan Son Nhat airport, which has been ready for operation since December 1, 2009.
Currently, the regular A-Check maintenance of Jetstar Pacific is being carried out under the special supervision of CAAV.
Jetstar Pacific is taking necessary procedures to employ experienced foreign experts as per request by CAAV. It is expected that the experts will begin working in January or February 2010.
Lai: Of course, taking the post at this moment is not an easy task, but I have to fulfill the duties assigned to me.
To date, my worries about the flight schedule have been eased. Now I travel on Jetstar Pacific flights no less than twice a week
Lai: First of all, I want to repeat that CAAV concluded there is no serious trouble that threatens flight safety and that aircraft technical checks are still carried out under the supervision of CAAV.
Minister of Transport Ho Nghia Dung, when answering questions of local press agencies, also replied that passengers can feel secure when flying with Jetstar Pacific, and that a flight takes off only when flight safety is ensured.
Lai: I became the Acting Chairman of Jetstar Pacific on August 1, 2009 and took the post of General Director of Jetstar Pacific on November 11, 2009. My salary is still being paid by SCIC in accordance with the pay scheme set by the State. I mean my salary is now the same as I received prior to taking this position.
We have put Jetstar Pacific under special supervision. CAAV has sent engineers to Tan Son Nhat airports and instructed airport authorities to supervise all flights of Jetstar Pacific. The top priority is to ensure safety for all flights.
Regarding the use of their service, I have told my colleagues that if Jetstar Pacific provides tickets to all staff of CAAV, I will be the first passenger who uses Jetstar Pacific’s service.
Pham Quy Tieu, Deputy Minister of Transportation, Head of CAAV