Vietnam suspends air controller for sleeping on duty

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HANOI – Vietnam’s aviation authority has suspended three air traffic controllers, including one who fell asleep while on duty, for causing delays to two flights.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said in a statement on its website late Tuesday that it had recommended that the sleeping controller and one other controller also be fined.

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The statement said the incident was a threat to safety, adding that the head of the air traffic control was also suspended.

The online Dan Tri newspaper reported that the crews on two flights of budget airline Vietjet Air — one departing for South Korea and one arriving from Ho Chi Minh City — could not contact the air traffic control at Cat Bi international airport in northern city of Hai Phong for 33 minutes on March 9.

The aviation authority was reviewing operations at Cat Bi air traffic control and said officials would implement measures to prevent a repeat of the incident.

The newspaper said one controller was absent while the main air traffic controller was sleeping. A technician was also suspended.

The flights were eventually able to depart and land successfully.

-Reuters

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