Airlines maintain low-occupancy international flights to keep landing slots

By Anh Duy   July 25, 2023 | 05:00 am PT
Airlines maintain low-occupancy international flights to keep landing slots
A Vietnam Airlines aircraft is seen at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Vietnamese carriers have to keep flying to international destinations despite low demand if they are to retain airport slots for next year, Vietnam Airlines deputy CEO Trinh Ngoc Thanh has said.

The number of international flights to and from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have increased though demand is low, he said at a meeting held to discuss aviation plans Monday.

"The load factor on international flights is now around 68%, 10 percentage points lower than in 2019."

This shows the difficulties airlines are facing this year, he said.

Some key inbound tourism markets have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of Chinese tourists in the first seven months was 90% lower than in the same period in 2019.

The decline was 46% for Japanese tourists and 20% for South Korean tourists.

Dinh Viet Phuong, CEO of Vietjet Air, shared similar concerns about weak demand.

Countries like China and Japan are promoting domestic travel, and the number of visitors from Northeast Asia remains low, he added.

Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said airlines have to keep flying to retain airport slots for the next season.

The global aviation market has recovered, albeit slowly, and has now climbed back to 88% of the 2019 level, according to the International Air Transport Association.

It would take until 2024 for the market to reach pre-Covid levels, it added.

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