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Vietnam mulls 'green corridor' to resume domestic flights

By Doan Loan   September 16, 2021 | 10:53 pm PT
Vietnam mulls 'green corridor' to resume domestic flights
Two passengers wearing protective suits arrive at Hanoi's Noi Bai airport from HCMC, July 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam is planning a safe Covid environment to recommence domestic aviation.

A representative from the corporation (ACV), which operates 21 airports in the country, said Thursday the "green corridor" would comprise "green people," or staff and passengers that have been fully vaccinated and tested negative, "green infrastructure," meaning airports, aircrafts, and buses disinfected before and after operation, and "green procedures," in which staff and passengers must follow all Covid-19 prevention protocols including wearing masks, disinfection, and keeping a distance from each other.

According to the ACV, the green corridor would work as a framework for health and safety measures to reduce Covid-19 risks in the aviation industry.

The framework is developed based on the Ministry of Health and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines.

Airlines will develop specific criteria for "green passengers", "green aircraft", and "green procedures", while the ACV regulates criteria for green infrastructure and green operation process.

It is expected that within next week, all related units would agree on the detailed content for the "green corridor" to start implementation.

The ACV representative said the "green corridor" is the basis for restoration of domestic operations and gradually opening international flights.

The ACV last week proposed to the Transport Ministry the resumption of domestic flights at a frequency equal to 50-70 percent of the time before the fourth wave appeared in late April.

Passengers traveling on domestic flights are divided into three phases.

The first phase would be on trial for two weeks to serve passengers who are state workers on missions, Covid-19 frontline forces, passengers that can provide official documents allowing them to leave their localities of departure and reach localities of arrival, passengers that have been fully vaccinated, completed their isolation period, or those carrying documents confirming they have recovered from Covid-19 within 12 months.

The second phase will be applied for two weeks, with more passengers allowed to fly, including those that have stayed in areas under Directive 16 for at least 14 days. The directive is the most stringent social distancing rule that bans all from leaving home, except for "essential purposes."

For phase three, all restrictions would be lifted.

Currently, the aviation industry still operates cargo flights in combination with passengers who are officials, state workers, and frontline forces.

The Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route now maintains a maximum of two return flights per day.

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