Airlines ramp up night flights but passengers not keen

By Anh Tu   June 13, 2024 | 11:58 pm PT
Airlines ramp up night flights but passengers not keen
Customers leave an aircraft of Vietnam Airlines at night. Photo by Vietnam Airlines
Airlines have been increasing the number of night flights to meet demand amid an aircraft shortage, but the inconvenience and fear of fatigue mean fliers shun them.

In the last two months carriers have been increasing their flying hours to cope with the rising summer demand, according to data from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

Vietnam Airlines’ planes are now flying for 11 hours a day, up from the earlier 10. They can fly for 12 hours if needed.

Vietjet’s aircraft are operating for 13 hours, and Vietravel Airlines and Bamboo Airways’ for 12.5 hours.

Thousands of night flights are set to be added soon.

Vietnam Airlines plans to operate an additional 2,000 flights after 9 p.m. on flights to and from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang City, Nha Trang, and Quy Nhon.

Vietjet will add 3,100 flights to its domestic schedule in the summer, equivalent to 1.4 million seats.

A night flight can be 20-40% cheaper than a day flight. But airlines are not too optimistic about demand for them.

Vietnam Airlines CEO Le Hong Ha said the carrier had to cancel 10% of night flights last month due to lack of passengers.

One of the reasons for redeye flights not being popular is that they require tourists to book an extra night at hotels, he said.

The lack of transportation at night adds to the challenge, he said.

Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman of Vietravel Airlines and tourism firm Vietravel, said people who travel for leisure rarely prefer late flights and only do so when they have to, such as before a long vacation or for a long-distance trip.

Vietnam Airlines is working to create a new night flying habit by partnering with service providers such as Vingroup and Sungroup to offer discounts on accommodation.

The Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board has called on hotels to offer multiple check-in and check-out options for the convenience of people arriving by night flights.

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