Aviation fare hikes in Vietnam leave tour agencies scrambling to adapt

By Vy An   April 4, 2018 | 07:27 pm PT
Aviation fare hikes in Vietnam leave tour agencies scrambling to adapt
An airplane of Vietjet Air is seen before a flight at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Agencies were only informed of the new prices 11 days before they took effect.

The cost of traveling by air on several Vietnamese carriers rose at the start of this month, leaving tour agencies in a quandary.

The cost of children's tickets on national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has gone up 20 percent,  and budget operator Vietjet Air has announced it has raised fees for changing names, dates and seats on flight tickets.

The changes have left tour agencies scrambling to make ends meet, considering how flight tickets account for 50 to 60 percent of tour prices.

Le Cong Nang, head of communications for Vietrantour, said his firm is still trying to adjust prices after only receiving word of the new fares on March 20, just 11 days before the actual changes took effect.

“For tours that were sold before we were aware of the new prices, we are expecting a loss since we cannot change the prices now,” he said.

Vietrantour has since adjusted prices for their tour packages to China, Europe and domestic travel to accommodate the new changes.

Some tour companies have remained steady in face of the new changes though. Tran Bao Thu, head of communications for Fiditour, said the increased prices were “not significant enough” for her firm to raise their prices, at least until the third quarter of the year.

Vietnam's aviation industry has been booming in recent years. The country served more than 94 million air passengers in 2017, up 16 percent from the previous year, including 13 million foreigners.

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