Vietnam aviation admin proposes more domestic flights

By Anh Duy   April 21, 2020 | 11:19 pm PT
Vietnam aviation admin proposes more domestic flights
Vietnam Airlines' planes stopped operating during the social distancing period in April 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines.
The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has proposed that carriers operate one flight per day from Hanoi or HCMC to other localities in the country.

The administration proposed to the Ministry of Transport a plan on operating domestic routes from April 23 to 30, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc set to decide whether or not to extend the social distancing campaign applied to Hanoi, HCMC and other 10 localities on April 22.

Under the proposal, CAAV says carriers should be allowed to operate one flight a day each from Hanoi or HCMC to other localities in the country, except for the Ho Chi Minh City to Con Dao route with four flights.

The routes between localities other than Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City should also be allowed to have one flight a day for each airline, it proposed.

The administration said 20 return flights a day be allowed on the Hanoi - HCMC route, up from the current six. In particular, Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air would have six flights each, while Jetstar Pacific and Bamboo Airways would have four flights each.

On routes from Hanoi and HCMC to Da Nang and back, CAAV proposed that Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air are allowed to have three flights each. Bamboo Airways and Jetstar Pacific would get two flights a day each on these routes. Currently, only two flights a day are operating on these routes.

The carriers would still have to implement social distancing, keeping passengers at least one seat apart on flights departing, maintain prevention and control measures including checking passengers' health at the airport, requiring online health declarations before boarding flights and refusing to carry passengers with Covid-19 infection symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath).

The Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) has also proposed to the transport ministry that two more pairs of trains on the Hanoi - HCMC route are allowed to operate from April 23 to 29, bringing the total to four pairs.

From April 30, all trains on the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City route should operate normally, it proposed.

Currently only two pairs of Thong Nhat trains are operating on the Hanoi – HCMC route.

There were only a limited number of flights operating between the three major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and HCMC between April 1 and 15 following the government's directive on the prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic.

With CAAV approval, several airlines have increased the frequency of flights between Hanoi and HCMC from one per day to 2-5 since last Thursday.

The April 1-15 social distancing campaign had been extended for a week until April 22 in Hanoi, HCMC, and 10 other localities deemed to be at "high risk" of Covid-19 infections spreading.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City proposed Monday that the government not extend the campaign. The same day, the PM said that Vietnam will ease social distancing step by step and implement adequate controls to avoid underestimating the Covid-19 epidemic. He is expected to make a new decision on social distancing Wednesday.

All Vietnamese carriers have suspended international routes since late March to contain the Covid-19, with many of the active patients being people coming in from other countries.

Wednesday morning marked the sixth consecutive day in Vietnam without a new Covid-19 infection, keeping the country's tally of active infections unchanged at 52.

The Covid-19 pandemic, now in 210 countries and territories, has a reported death toll of more than 177,600.

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