Royal Khmer Airlines Boeing 727-200 abandoned at Noi Bai airport, Hanoi. Photo courtesy of CAAV.
A Hanoi nursing center has suggested that an abandoned aircraft be used to allow seniors experience what it’s like being on a plane.
The center sent a letter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, saying that many elderly people living in the center have been wanting to experience what it is like sitting in an airplane. However, since their current health conditions do not allow them to travel on one, one way to make their dreams come true would be to use the Boeing-727 aircraft abandoned for 12 years at Noi Bai airport.
Hoang Thi Thu Ngan, deputy director of the nursing center, said many seniors asked their caregivers: “Is flying similar to driving a car? Do you get motion sickness when flying like when you travel by car, and so on.”
She said most of the seniors have never traveled by plane. The center entertained the idea of making aircraft with cardboard, hiring designers to make a model and so on, but this was not feasible.
“The Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs also contacted us Thursday morning to verify our request as well as ask about support options if the aircraft was brought to the center. We are also working with some agencies to find a place to keep the place if the requested is approved,” she said.
Earlier, Hanoi-based TiffSon, a company that provides inventory solutions through bartering goods and services, has offered VND3 billion ($129,000) worth of beer, wine and confectionery for the abandoned aircraft.
However, aviation authorities have rejected a proposal, saying that there are no legal grounds for exchanging the aircraft for non-cash assets.
The Boeing 727-200, which belonged to the Royal Khmer Airlines, had run into technical problems after carrying passengers to Noi Bai airport. It did not meet safety conditions to return to Siem Reap, and has been parked at Noi Bai since May 1, 2007.
The Cambodian airline went bankrupt soon after and left the plane in Hanoi, because it would cost too much to repair. Cambodian authorities have subsequently removed the aircraft from its national registry, allowing the CAAV to deal with the asset in accordance with Vietnamese law.