Domestic airfares begin cooling down

By Anh Tu   March 10, 2024 | 11:01 pm PT
Domestic airfares begin cooling down
A plane takes off at Dien Bien Airport in northern Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
North-south airfares, including on the Hanoi-HCMC route, have halved from a week ago.

A round trip between the country’s two major cities dropped to VND3.5 million (US$142) at the weekend, the lowest level since Feb. 15 when the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays ended.

Fares for next weekend on this route and from Hai Phong City, Thanh Hoa Province and Nghe An Province to HCMC are even cheaper at VND3 million.

They had been around VND7 million for the last two week.

Now that the peak season has ended, airfares are expected to stay low until the next big holidays on April 30 and May 1, according to an official from a private airline.

After that there will be a short pause before prices start rising again in June as the summer travel season begins, they said.

Unlike in previous years, when the fares began declining two weeks after Tet, this time peak season prices lasted for over three weeks due to an aircraft shortage.

Last month Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air had to ground multiple A321 planes due to issues related to their Pratt & Whitney engines. Bamboo Airways recently terminated the lease of its Embraer E190 jets as part of its restructuring.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has forecast the shortage to continue well into 2025, and instructed airlines to come up with solutions to boost domestic flight capacity and promptly disclose changes to flight schedules so that passengers are not left in the lurch.

But airlines’ performances have improved otherwise this year thanks to lower fuel costs.

Jet A-1 fuel costs around $86 per barrel now against an average of $114 last year.

This could help bring fares down this year, an airline industry executive said.

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