Resumption of international and domestic flights

Monday, 2021-11-29 16:24:31
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The pilot flight to welcome international tourists from Seoul (the Republic of Korea) to Da Nang on November 17.
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NDO - In the context of the COVID-19 epidemic being initially controlled in several countries around the world, the Ministry of Transport has proposed to the Government to approve the resumption of regular international routes from the first quarter of 2022, this is to include passengers with or without a “vaccine passport”. In regards to domestic routes, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) proposes to open all domestic routes from the beginning of next year.

The resumption of regular international routes will contribute to removing the current difficulties for the aviation businesses; at the same time, promote the process of economic and tourism recovery for localities as well as the entire country, while still ensuring the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic in compliance with regulations on control and isolation of people on entry.

International flight in three phases

On the morning of November 29, flight VN98 of Vietnam Airlines landed at San Francisco International Airport (the US), becoming a historic flight marking the official opening of a non-stop commercial air route between Vietnam and the US.

Vietnam Airlines General Director Le Hong Ha shared: “More than a year ago, Vietnam Airlines was the first Vietnamese airline to fly directly to the US (San Francisco International Airport), to welcome repatriated citizens. This VN98 flight is also a direct flight but has a whole new meaning, marking a momentous step forward for the airline and a historic milestone of Vietnamese aviation with the official opening of the regular route between Vietnam - US".

Accordingly, flight VN98 carrying nearly 40 passengers departed Tan Son Nhat Airport at 8:40 pm on November 28, and landed at San Francisco International Airport at 7:30 pm on November 28 (local time), equivalent to 7:30 am on November 29 (Vietnam time). The total non-stop flight time from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco (more than 13,000 km) is 13 hours 50 minutes.

From November 28, the airline operates two regular flights per week, which is expected to increase to seven flights per week after the epidemic is controlled and the Vietnamese Government allows the reopening of regular international routes.

In early November, the Ministry of Transport proposed to the Prime Minister to allow the reopening of regular international routes from the first quarter of 2022 for both passengers with or without "vaccine passports"; proposing the Government decides on a specific time to implement the stages of resumption for regular international passenger flights on the basis of reviewing the performance of flights with passengers paying for isolation costs in the new evolving situation, pilot flights to welcome international tourists in localities (Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Da Nang, Quang Nam) and the results of each phase.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan, the route of regular international flights carrying passengers to Vietnam will follow three phases.

Accordingly, the first phase will be implemented from the first quarter of 2022, organising flights that do not require the approval of the list of passengers entering Vietnam by the competent authorities (except for immigration and medical control requirements). The mining market includes China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK. These are the countries and territories with the percentage of people receiving full doses of the vaccine other than Vietnam, that have been conducting "combo" flights, pilot flights in order to welcome international tourists and are important aviation markets for Vietnamese airlines. Operating a frequency of four flights per week return for each side, the total number of visitors to Vietnam is expected to be about 12,000 people per week.

The second phase will begin from the second quarter of 2022, deploying regular flights to Vietnam that do not require concentrated isolation for passengers with vaccine passports. The markets are deployed according to the needs of airlines, with a frequency of seven flights per week return for each airline. Passengers carrying "vaccine passports" are to self-isolate at their places of residence from three to seven days according to the guidance of the Ministry of Health, passengers without vaccine passports are to isolate for 14 days.

The third phase will be deployed from the third quarter of 2022, operating regular international flights according to demand and depending on epidemic developments and vaccination rates of Vietnam and the rest of the world. Markets and operating frequency will be decided by the airlines themselves.

Normal domestic flights from the beginning of 2022

Recently, the CAAV also proposed to the Ministry of Transport a plan to continue carrying out regular domestic passenger transportation by air at the end of 2021 and into the next period.

Accordingly, from October 21 to November 18, airlines operated 44 routes to 22 domestic airports with a total of 2,207 return flights, the total number of passengers reached more than 446,800 people, a seat occupancy factor of 54.4%.

The route Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City has had the highest seat occupancy factor, continuously reaching more than 90%, followed by Hanoi-Da Nang-Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh City-Phu Quoc-Da Nang/Nghe An /Thanh Hoa with a seat occupancy factor of 65-75%.

The airport authorities have coordinated with airlines and airports to monitor the arrival and departure of passengers, ensure all passengers complete medical declarations, serve epidemic prevention and control, and ensure that passengers meet the conditions of having a certificate of the required full dose of vaccines, a certificate of being cured of COVID-19, or having a negative test result within 72 hours.

The CAAV has proposed to the Ministry of Transport to allow increasing the frequency of operating routes between Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City/Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City-Da Nang from December 1 to 14, on each route. Up to 16 round-trip flights per day, allotted to operators including Vietnam Airlines (5 flights), Vietjet Air (5 flights), Bamboo Airways (3 flights), Pacific Airlines (2 flights), Vietravel Airlines (1 flight).

From December15 to 31, each route will be operated with a frequency of 20 round trips per day (expected to be allocated to Vietnam Airlines (6 flights), Vietjet Air (6 flights), Bamboo Airways (4 flights); Pacific Airlines (3 flights), Vietravel Airlines (1 fight). For other routes during the above period, each one can be operated with no more than 9 round-trip flights per day.

The CAAV also recommends that from 2022, all domestic routes will return to normal operation.

At the same time, abolishing the regulation "airlines do not provide services on flights" because this regulation causes many inconveniences to passengers, especially groups of passengers with children and people who have not had time to eat a meal before the flight, considering most of the food service counters at the airport are temporarily closed.