Covid-19 impacts: Vietnam aviation suffers $1.3 billion revenue loss

By Hoang Phong   March 17, 2020 | 07:31 pm PT
Covid-19 impacts: Vietnam aviation suffers $1.3 billion revenue loss
Tan Son Nhat Airport in Saigon is left deserted on March 13, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
Vietnamese carriers could lose more than VND30 trillion ($1.3 billion) in revenues this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the transport ministry estimates.

With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting 165 countries and territories around the world, Vietnamese carriers have suspended operations on numerous routes and decreased the frequency of flights on others from late January onwards.

All flights to China and South Korea, two countries hit hardest by the pandemic, were suspended while Vietnamese carriers cut 34 percent of their flights to Taiwan to just 99 flights a week compared 151 late last year.

Flights to Hong Kong were cut by 92 percent and only Vietnam Airlines continues to operate four flights a week compared to a total of 47 late last year.

Flights to Japan are still operating at 160 a week, but Vietnamese airlines are likely to decrease the frequency as anxieties continue to rise.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines suspended all flights to and from France and Malaysia starting Wednesday.

The only carrier in Vietnam with direct flights to European countries like England, Germany and France, Vietnam Airlines is set to reduce the number of weekly flights from Hanoi and Saigon to the continent by 14, starting March 25.

However, the national flag carrier is also considering the possibility of suspending all flights to Europe if the E.U. decides to close all borders, including airspace.

Vietnam Airlines has estimated that the number of passengers it carries could decline by 2.5 million this year, leading to a revenue fall of VND12 trillion ($519 million).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has envisioned two Covid-19 impact scenarios for Vietnam’s aviation market in 2020. In the first scenario, where the pandemic is contained before April, carriers in the country would handle a total of 67 million passengers, down 15 percent year-on-year, said Dinh Viet Thang, director of CAAV.

However, if the pandemic is only contained in June, the number of air passengers is predicted to fall 22 percent year-on-year to 61 million, including 10 million foreign visitors.

As of Tuesday, Vietnam had recorded 66 Covid-19 infections, 50 of them since March 6, prior to which the nation had gone 22 days without a new case. The previous 16 patients have been discharged from hospitals.

The Covid-19 outbreak has spread to 165 countries and territories, claiming more than 7,400 lives.

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