Charges dropped against former Jetstar Pacific director

Ministry of Public Security’s police have dropped “lack of responsibilities” charges against Luong Hoai Nam, former director of budget domestic carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines.

They also suspended investigations into the losses of the troubled airline.

Nam, 47, was charged with “lack of responsibilities, causing serious consequences” after Vietnam’s State Audit Office said on December 2, 2009 auditors have found a number of wrongdoings by state-owned companies, spotlighting the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), which holds 70 percent stake in Jetstar Pacific Airlines.

Auditors said the low-cost carrier should be investigated for the losses of US$31.2 million in 2008-09.

By signing future contracts for fuel between July 2008 and May 2009, JPA’s managing board was responsible for airline losses of more than $31 million due to plunging global crude prices, according to auditors.

They said Nam and two Australian deputy directors, Daniela Marsilli and Tristan Freeman, took charge of fuel hedging, a contractual tool used by some airlines to stabilize jet fuel costs.

Nam stepped down from his post on November 10, 2009.

Pacific Airlines was a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines. By selling 30 percent of its stake to Australia’s Jetstar Airways, a subsidiary of Qantas Airways, Pacific was officially renamed Jetstar Pacific on May 23, 2008.

After Vietnamese police announced their investigations into JPA executives, Qantas Airways asked them not to lay charges against the two Australian deputy directors, pledging to repair the damages.

Vietnam’s investigation police have accepted the airline’s request.

JPA made a huge push when it reinvented itself as a low-cost carrier in 2005. Its air fares have been 30 percent lower on average than those of the Vietnam Airlines.

During its peak, JPA commanded a 25 percent domestic market share.

Source: Tuoi Tre