Domestic air travel to drop in 2024

By Anh Tu   December 22, 2023 | 08:33 pm PT
The number of domestic air passengers is expected to decrease 8% next year, primarily due to airlines eliminating routes with low demand and the likelihood of increased ticket prices driven by escalating fuel costs.

Local airlines have scaled down their fleet size due to difficulties in recovering post-Covid, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said in a recent report that forecast a total of 38.5 million domestic air travelers next year.

The rising cost of jet fuel, which is set to remain high at over $110 per barrel next year, might also be an obstacle to domestic air travel, it said.

In recent months domestic airlines have cut several routes to the southernmost island of Phu Quoc Island due to low occupancy. The flights were eliminated from Da Nang City, Can Tho and Nha Trang.

Vietnam Airlines plans to ground over 10 narrow-body Airbus A321 jets for maintenance on their Pratt & Whitney engines beginning January.

As there are 1,000 similar engines that need to be examined globally, the job is set to cost Vietnam Airlines 200 days, triple the normal time.

Domestic airlines transported 74 million passengers this year, up 34.5% from 2022 and equivalent to nearly 94% of pre-pandemic levels, CAAV said.

International passengers numbered 32 million, up 170% year-on-year but equivalent to only 77% of the 2019 level.

The country is set to serve 80.3 million passengers in total next year, up 7%. The number of international passengers is expected to surge 30% to 41.8 million.

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