VnExpress International
The most read Vietnamese newspaper
Get Newsletter| Contact us |
Follow us on       

Aviation authority proposes resuming int'l flights to 15 destinations

By Doan Loan   November 5, 2021 | 03:15 am PT
Aviation authority proposes resuming int'l flights to 15 destinations
Aircraft land at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam proposed resumption of commercial international flights to 15 countries and territories, with the U.K., Laos and Cambodia added to the list.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) on Friday submitted the latest draft plan of resuming commercial flights in four phases to the Ministry of Transport for consideration.

In the first phase scheduled to start this quarter, airlines would resume flights to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia and Australia to repatriate Vietnamese citizens and carry foreign tourists who book tours to some designated tourist destinations.

Repatriated Vietnamese would have to pay for a combo package that covers all expenses including airfares, quarantine fees at hotels and Covid testing. They need to furnish a negative Covid certificate before departure. Those having been fully vaccinated would only be quarantined for seven days and the unvaccinated 14 days as per health ministry protocol.

From November, foreign tourists can visit Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Quang Ninh, Quang Nam and Da Nang, home to popular tourism hotpots and UNESCO heritages sites, without mandatory quarantine.

Visitors need to furnish a certificate showing they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or recovered from Covid. All tourists must show a negative Covid certificate obtained via the PCR method within 72 hours before departure and are required to book a tour package with designated travel agencies.

In the second phase from January 2022, aviation authorities want to resume regular flights to carry Vietnamese and foreigners from 15 countries and territories: 10 in the first phase and Cambodia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Laos, and the U.K. Each side would operate four flights a week.

Passengers need to furnish a certificate showing they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or recovered from Covid and must undergo seven-day quarantine at paid isolation facilities or 14 days for the unvaccinated.

Based on vaccine coverage and herd immunization after mass vaccination, aviation authorities would consider launching regular commercial flights in the third phase from next April that would allow passengers with vaccine passports approved by Vietnam to be exempt from quarantine on arrival.

Passengers would only monitor their health at their place of accommodation from three to seven days while unvaccinated travelers undergo 14-day quarantine.

Vietnam currently accepts Covid-19 vaccine passports from 72 countries and territories, and is discussing the issue with 80 others, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding the U.S., the U.K., Japan and Belarus have officially accepted Vietnam's vaccine passport.

In the fourth phase from next July, aviation authorities would operate regular international flights based on travel demand at the time with unlimited flight frequency.

The plan still stipulates that fully-vaccinated passengers flying into Vietnam on regular commercial flights during the second phase are subject to seven-day quarantine though aviation and tourism firms warned it would be unfeasible if the quarantine rule remains unchanged.

Philip Goh, regional vice president of International Air Transport Association (IATA) for Asia-Pacific, said the roadmap to resume international flights by CAAV was in the right direction.

However, the quarantine requirement would delay the aviation recovery process as well as become a major obstacle for businesses that depend on airlines and international visitors.

In the Asia-Pacific region, many countries like Singapore, Australia and Thailand have welcomed international tourists while Europe and the U.S. reopened their doors quarantine-free to vaccinated passengers.

Vietnam closed its doors to foreign tourists and canceled all international flights in March last year to contain Covid, allowing only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts and highly-skilled workers entry.

Vietnam recorded a 79 percent decline year-on-year in the number of foreign visitors in 2020 due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic.

The nation welcomed just 3.83 million foreign visitors against a record 18 million in 2019, according to official data.

 
Enjoy unlimited articles and premium content with only $1.99 Subscribe now
 
go to top