LEADERS TALK

Captain Nguyen Ba Hai rocks with Hai Au Aviation seaplanes

TMG – Flying to the sky has always been his dream. And offering domestic and international tourists chances to enjoy the magnificent beauty of Vietnam from the top is the aspiration of Hai Au Aviation. It’s when Nguyen Ba Hai met Hai Au Aviation, and he has become everybody’s favorite captain since. 

Hai Au Aviation was praised as Asia’s Leading Seaplane Operator at the World Travel Award (WTA) 2022 hosted in Ho Chi Minh City on September 7th. That was the fourth consecutive time the brand had received the honorable award. Captain Nguyen Ba Hai from Hai Au Aviation managed time between his seaplane scenic flight shifts to discuss the prize and the brand.

1. Can you share with us your feelings on knowing Hai Au Aviation has been honored as 'Asia's Leading Seaplane Operator' for the fourth time in a row at World Travel Award (WTA) 2022?

I’m thrilled and proud that Hai Au Aviation won the title Asia’s Leading Seaplane Operator four times consecutively. In fact, Asia does not have many airlines that operate seaplanes, and there are just one or two of them in each country. Therefore, airlines just self-advocate in their environment and have no condition to exchange and learn from each other. In that context, that Hai Au Aviation is recognized as the leading seaplane airline makes me feel very honored.

2. What is the meaning of HAA winning this award for four consecutive years, in your opinion?

We are talking about four consecutive years, in which two years we had to go through very tough challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic causing considerable fluctuations in the market and human resources. However, we still hold outstanding achievements, proving that we have successfully overcome those challenges. That is a genuinely strong motivation for Hai Au Aviation.

3. Do you think that HAA has no rival in this race?​

Well, it is probably correct when you put it that way. We have no direct competition from other seaplane airlines. But at the same time, as a result, we do not have any specific value measure. We rarely understand other airlines’ activities and have no source of extra external experience from which to learn. I think it is more of Hai Au Aviation’s disadvantage than an advantage.

4. Do you think this success of winning the award reminds HAA about its future path?

Absolutely. Being honored to receive such a significant award, we feel inspired because our products which have been created and developed for eight years, are recognized as high-quality ones, offering domestic and international tourists unforgettable experiences in Vietnam. I think our products are the one-and-only in Vietnam, regarding scenic flights in particular and by seaplane in general. Hai Au Aviation will consider them key products and focus on maintaining and developing for the better in the future.

5. Can you share some of HAA's plans for the coming time?

Recently, we have successfully developed our scenic flights over Ha Long Bay. Ha Long Bay and Vietnam have numerous islands and favorable coastal areas for seaplane operations. Therefore, we will focus on scenic and transportation flights that bring guests or goods to nearshore islands. We plan to provide scenic flights from Ha Long Bay to the island of Co To in Quang Ninh Province. I hope we can have more new routes to other coastal areas and islands of Vietnam, like Phu Quoc and Nha Trang.

6. Talking about winning the award, do you want to send a message to the organizers of the World Travel Awards 2022?

It was such a pity that we could not attend the event in Ho Chi Minh City on the evening of September 7th because of business reasons. We had to focus on working during rush times when dynamic tourism activities occured in the North Region. We want to thank World Travel Awards’ organizers and the people who enthusiastically voted for us. Again, Hai Au Aviation is committed to developing brilliant products not to disappoint our beloved customers.

7. With this year's victory, HAA will undoubtedly continue to compete for the title 'Asia's Leading Seaplane Operator' in 2023. What do you think of that?

2023 will be the fifth year we enter the race to defend this title. I hope its competitiveness will increase so we can have an even better chance to improve our service quality. As a fourth-consecutive-years winner, we want to defend the title as long as possible.

8. For people who have always loved and believed in Hai Au Aviation, do you want to say anything to them?

Again, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the people who have loved and supported Hai Au Aviation and Thien Minh Group during this time. I hope that you will continue supporting the products of Hai Au Aviation and Thien Minh Group in the future.

9. One last question for you, Captain Nguyen Ba Hai. Some customers are still confused between helicopters and seaplanes. Can you help them out with that?

It’s true many people are confused between seaplanes and helicopters. I think there are two aspects related to that situation:

Firstly, it’s about professional aviation knowledge. In Vietnam, helicopters and seaplanes are not so familiar to everyone, resulting in the above confusion.

Secondly, it is related to the language issue. In Vietnamese, the words ‘helicopter’ and especially ‘seaplane’ are not popular with everyone because we often just say ‘plane.’ Especially, ‘seaplane’ in Vietnamese is translated into a long and unfamiliar term with five words: ‘máy bay thuỷ phi cơ.’

Improving professional aviation knowledge might be challenging for better understanding and confusion avoidance. So I suggest we can resolve the language issue instead. We can avoid confusion by using the terms ‘floatplane/flying boat’ for seaplane, which is ‘máy bay đáp nước’ in Vietnamese. As for ‘helicopter,’ we call it ‘máy bay lên thẳng,’ an aircraft taking off and landing vertically.

Thank you so much for your sharing. We wish you good health and success on every flight.

Hai Au Aviation, a member of Thien Minh Group, provides Vietnam’s first seaplane service for tourism. Offering flights over the magnificent islands of UNESCO World Heritage Site Halong Bay, Hai Au Aviation gives guests the chance to enjoy spectacular views from the top while dramatically reducing travel times.

Hai Au Aviation’s latest series Cessna Grand Caravan 208B-EX Amphibians are operated by experienced, internationally trained flight crew to ensure customers’ journey is safe and comfortable. Guests can choose from scheduled flights, scenic excursions or high-end private chartered flights from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Hai Au Aviation is also looking to expand to regional destinations such as Laos and Cambodia.