Vietnam airlines industry: Vietnam lacking ticketing staff
Vietnam airlines industry, a recent survey by the Air Service and Travel Company TransViet showed that Vietnam needed 400 more reservation and ticketing staff serving the commercial airline industry every year to meet the aviation growth rate of 20% per annum.
The survey has pointed out that Vietnam seriously lacks reservation and ticketing staffs for air travel, and this has made companies scramble for staffs, while the quality of the labour force is low.
Mai Trung Thanh, Training Director of TransViet, said that the number of students trained for reservation and ticketing(booking tickets, issuing tickets, calculating airfares) remains very modest. In Vietnam, the Aviation Institute is the only place that trains labourers for this sector. However, the institute is located in the south of the country, and mainly serves Vietnam Airlines. The number of graduated students every year cannot meet the demand of the market.
There are 520 travel agents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, and 40 international airlines which have offices in Vietnam. Mr Thanh said the survey showed that 70% of agents have only a half of trained staffs, while the other staffs learn right at work.
Vietnam Airlines has its own programme on training booking employees with 4 training courses every year (920-25 trainees every course). However, the trainees are just enough for Vietnam Airlines only. The air carrier only provides free training to 1-2 persons for every booking agent, while others have to pay the fee of VND6mil ($375) for the course.
TransViet, which acts as the general agent for big airlines, like United Airlines (US), British Airways, All Nippon Airways (Japan), also trains staffs itself: senior staffs show juniors the things they have to do.
The serious lack of reservation and ticketing staffs has forced air carriers to scramble for staffs. The carriers have to offer higher pay in order to lure staffs from other airlines. “All airlines try to attract staffs by offering high salaries when they enter Vietnam,” said Mr Thanh.
The biggest problem with the scrambling is the bad quality of ticketing staffs, because the regular shift of working places does not give enough time to staffs to get experience.
According to Mr Thanh, the number of contracts Vietnamese booking officials can cover a year is just a half of the contracts covered by Thai and 1/3 of Singaporean officials.
The Head of United Airlines’ Representative Office in Vietnam, Joe Mannix, said frankly that the general capability of ticketing staffs in Vietnam was okay, but they still did not have deep understanding about their work. Meanwhile, Vietnamese staffs do not have deep knowledge about international standards.
He said that the skill that was most necessary for ticketing staffs was English speaking. Moreover, Vietnamese staffs should become more active and take initiative in their works.
Pham Thi Thuy, Director of the Training Centre under the Aviation Institute, said that students now had to go to Ho Chi Minh City to be trained, and most of them stayed in the city after the training; therefore, northern airlines are still seriously lacking staffs.
The biggest problem in training ticketing staffs is the lack of practice-fostering environments. Moreover, it takes $4,000 on average to send a teacher abroad to follow training courses and get the certificate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Nguyen Hai, Chairman and Director General of TransViet, said that TransViet would join forces with Amadeus and United Airlines to launch a 3-month training course for booking employees. Mr Hai also revealed that TransViet would provide courses for tour operators and air agents, hoping to provide qualified staffs for the airlines operating in Vietnam.