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Airfares soar on summertime travel demand, fuel price hikes

By Anh Tu   July 17, 2022 | 03:00 am PT
Airfares soar on summertime travel demand, fuel price hikes
People are packed inside a domestic terminal of Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport in late June 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Flight tickets to domestic destinations have become pricier than holiday fares, with rising global fuel prices adding fuel to high summer travel demand.

For the past two weeks, Hoang Viet, who lives in Hanoi's Ha Dong District, has been checking flight ticket prices constantly so he could fly to Ho Chi Minh City and visit his relatives.

However, he hasn't been able to find fares that he can afford.

"If my family flies this month, it would take at least VND10 million ($426.35) for three people," he said.

A round trip between Hanoi and HCMC costs VND3.4-6.2 million for economy class, with the lowest price range offered by budget airlines like Vietjet. The low prices are usually for flights that leave or arrive very early in the morning or late at night. The base fares for Vietjet and Vietravel do not include check-in baggage.

The higher fares on the route are charged by Vietnam Airlines.

Current ticket prices are already higher than the VND2.5-4 million range during the Lunar New Year holiday earlier this year.

Summertime travel demand has hiked fares to popular travel destinations including coastal towns. For example, a round trip between Hanoi and Nha Trang in the central coast costs VND3-6.7 million for the latter half of July.

A round trip between Hanoi and Quy Nhon costs around VND2.7-5 million; while one between the capital city and Con Dao Island off the southern coast in the last week of July can cost as high as VND10 million.

Ticket prices will tend to drop in August, industry insiders said.

Tickets for international trips have also become expensive this summer. For the latter half of this month, a Hanoi-Bangkok round trip starts at VND5.5 million, and a Hanoi-Singapore round trip at VND5.3 million. Before the pandemic, passengers could easily purchase tickets for similar flights starting at VND3 million.

Direct flights from Vietnam to Europe in September and October are also expensive, with a HCMC-Frankfurt trip starting at VND24 million, and a Hanoi-Paris trip starting at VND40 million.

A representative for Vietravel Airlines said the high prices were necessary to cover costs.

"Summertime is considered a time to make up for periods of low travel demand from August to November. It is simply a matter of revenue management and making sure our operations are stable," the rep said.

Despite a quick recovery by domestic aviation and ongoing high prices, some carriers still want price ceilings expanded, saying the current ones are no longer appropriate. This is needed also because of rising world fuel prices, they argue.

A Vietnam Airlines representative said current price ceilings were based on fuel costing around $80 a barrel, but actual prices are at around $140 a barrel.

A Bamboo Airways rep said the aviation industry should not be held back by price ceilings and it was better to allow the market to decide prices.

 
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