Vietnam carriers launch more domestic routes

By Nguyen Nam, Hoang Phong    July 1, 2020 | 04:02 am PT
Vietnam carriers launch more domestic routes
An aerial view of Con Dao archipelago in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Photo by VnExpress/Tam Linh.
Bamboo Airways, Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air have opened new routes to many popular destinations to meet summer travel demand.

Bamboo Airways on Wednesday launched two new routes connecting Thanh Hoa with Quy Nhon and Phu Quoc, with the frequency of four round trips a week.

Thanh Hoa Province and Quy Nhon Town in Binh Dinh Province are home to central Vietnam's popular beaches, while Phu Quoc is the country's largest island in the south.

The carrier also opened a new route from Vinh Town in the central province of Nghe An to Quy Nhon and planned to launch another route from Hanoi to Con Dao in mid-July.

Con Dao archipelago, which includes 16 islands, held political prisoners during the French colonial era and the Vietnam War (1954-1975). The Saigon regime during the war imprisoned its opponents in the infamous cells, or "tiger cages." Con Dao is also famous for its primitive beaches.

With the latest four routes, Bamboo Airways is operating a total 30 routes with 100 flights per day, reaching 70 percent capacity against pre-pandemic figures.

"Given that the national economy gradually recovers after the social distancing, the launch of new flight routes plays an important role in meeting growing travel demand," said Nguyen Ngoc Trong, deputy general director of Bamboo Airways.

Vietnam Airlines last month opened new routes connecting Vinh to popular tourist destinations such as Phu Quoc Island and Can Tho City (in the south), Da Lat and Buon Me Thuot (in the Central Highlands) and Quy Nhon. This helped raise the national flag carrier’s total domestic routes to 52.

An aerial view of Nhon Hai Beach, a popular tourist destination in Quy Nhon Town, Binh Dinh Province. Photo by Pham Huy Trung.

An aerial view of Nhon Hai Beach in Quy Nhon. Photo by Pham Huy Trung.

Le Hong Ha, executive vice president of Vietnam Airlines, said since the country eased social distancing measures on April 23, the airlines has transported over 500,000 tourists and achieved an average flight occupancy of 90 percent on the domestic circuit.

Vietjet Air said it has resumed its entire domestic network of 53 routes and over 300 flights per day, achieving a seat capacity of about 90 percent.

"We plan to increase the frequency of flights from Hanoi to Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Phu Quoc by mid-July to meet rising summer travel needs," Vietjet's representative stated.

Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) has also reopened almost all its routes. In particular, the HCMC-Con Dao route has been increased by five to 10 flights, bringing the daily total to 15-20.

VASCO, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, is currently the only airline operating regular flights to the islands from HCMC and Can Tho using ATR 72 short-haul aircraft.

Without foreign tourists, airlines are coordinating with major travel firms and resorts to develop stimulus packages aimed at restoring the domestic tourism market. This includes preferential airfares and resort vouchers that aim to boost passenger numbers during summer, usually a peak time for domestic tourism.

Vietnam has banned entry by foreign nationals since March 22 with exceptions and conditions, including 14-day quarantining on arrival. Since March 25, all international flights have been suspended, except for special cases like repatriation flights.

At a government meeting in Hanoi last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated Vietnam was not yet ready to open up to international tourists given the lack of improvement in the global situation and the second wave of infections suffered by several countries in the region, including China and South Korea.

With the country’s borders remaining closed, foreign visitor numbers in the first half of the year dropped 55.8 percent year-on-year to 3.74 million.

Vietnam has gone 76 days without community transmission of the novel coronavirus. It now has 20 active cases and has recorded no deaths.

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