VIETNAM’S AVIATION AUTHORITY has suspended the crew of a plane operated by budget airline VietJet Air after a flight bound for the tourist hub of Da Lat landed at another airport more than 100 kilometres away.
The scheduled flight VJ 8575 carrying 200 passengers landed at Cam Ranh airport near the coastal city of Nha Trang — another popular tourist destination — on Thursday night, instead of the Central Highlands town of Da Lat around 130 kilometres to the southwest.
The incident occurred “because of the flight coordinators and crew members of VietJet Air, who did not correctly follow flight procedures”, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) in an online statement.
The body said it decided “to temporarily suspend the licences” of the crew as well as other staff involved while an investigation was under way. It did not specify how many employees of the airline or airports involved had been suspended.
The CAAV also said that “appropriate measures” towards the airline would be taken at a later stage.
Passengers on the misdirected plane were transferred to another VietJet Air flight later on Thursday.
VietJet Air was not immediately available for comment.
The low-cost carrier, Vietnam’s first private airline which launched in 2011, currently serves 11 cities in Vietnam plus Bangkok and Singapore.
It has already cornered around 25 percent of the domestic market — taking customers from Vietnam Airlines and low-cost carrier Jetstar, according to state media.
The airline shot to prominence locally when it was fined for staging a racy in-flight bikini dance in 2012 to celebrate the launch of flights to Nha Trang.