Transport Ministry green lights more domestic flights

By Nguyen Quy   April 28, 2020 | 11:24 pm PT
Transport Ministry green lights more domestic flights
Aircraft of Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air park at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi. Photo by Shutterstock/Jimmy Tran.
The Transport Ministry has approved a Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) proposal to increase domestic flights’ frequency to meet higher travel demand.

The decision, issued by the ministry Tuesday night, came after Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said the nation’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic "has to be maintained at full strength" while asking localities and agencies to ease restrictions and create favorable conditions for businesses like aviation and tourism to bounce back.

For the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1) holidays, the ministry has allowed an additional eight return fights on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, raising the total to 28 from the current 20.

There will be two additional flights a day on routes from Hanoi and HCMC to Da Nang and back, raising the total to eight. Other domestic routes will get an additional eight flights a day to meet the growing travel demand of locals as many top tourist destinations reopen after a prolonged shutdown.

From May 1 to 15, frequency on the Hanoi - HCMC route can increase to 36 flights a day, and the number of return fights to Da Nang from Hanoi and HCMC can go up to 12. From May 16, corresponding numbers can go up to 52 and 20 return flights per day.

While the ministry approved more flights, it rejected a CAAV proposal to lift restrictions on the distance to be maintained between passengers on aircrafts.

Carriers must arrange for passengers to sit one meter apart and are required to collect health declarations, check body temperatures, insist on passengers wearing face masks, and to limit talking and eating.

After severely limiting or canceling flights on all routes during the April 1-15 social distancing campaign directed by the Prime Minister, several airlines started operating more flights between Hanoi and HCMC from April 16 onwards. The number of flights increased from one per day to between two and five.

Starting last Thursday, Hanoi and HCMC ended their 22-day social distancing campaign, keeping in place restrictions on public gatherings and continuing the closure of many "non-essential" businesses.

Vietnam has suspended entry for all foreign nationals, including those of Vietnamese origin and family members with visa waivers, since March 22. The suspension continues with exceptions and conditions announced earlier, including mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival.

The country has gone five days in a row without a new Covid-19 infection and 13 days straight with no community transmission. Of the 270 novel coronavirus patients recorded so far, 221 have been discharged.

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