Vietnam plans more domestic flights as travel demand grows

By Hoang Phong    April 27, 2020 | 08:44 pm PT
Vietnam plans more domestic flights as travel demand grows
Aircrafts at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Phuong D. Nguyen
Vietnam’s aviation authorities are proposing a phased increase in domestic flights frequency with travel demand likely to rise ahead of upcoming national holidays.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed to the Transport Ministry a plan to further increase flight frequency on domestic routes, arguing that the nation is exerting better control on the Covid-19 pandemic and has already relaxed restrictions to restore socioeconomic activities.

With the Reunification Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1) holidays round the corner, the administration has suggested increasing an additional four return fights on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, raising the total to 24 from the current 20.

On routes from Hanoi and HCMC to Da Nang and back, the administration proposes two additional flights a day to eight.

Other domestic routes would get an additional four flights a day to meet the growing travel demand of locals as many top tourist destinations reopen after a prolonged shutdown aimed at containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

From May 1 to 15, the CAAV proposes 33 return flights a day on the Hanoi - HCMC route, with Vietnam Airlines operating 13, Vietjet Air, 12, Bamboo Airways, six, and Jetstar Pacific, two. On the same dates, the number of return fights to Da Nang from Hanoi and HCMC should be increased to 11, the proposal says.

From May 16 to 31, the administration has suggested increasing frequency on the Hanoi-HCMC route to 50 return flights a day and on routes from Hanoi and HCMC to Da Nang to 20 flights per day.

To ensure safety, the carriers have pledged to carefully disinfect and clean aircraft on landing. The crew on all flights and technicians will be wear protective equipment. Passengers will be required to wear face masks for the entire duration of their flight.

The CAAV also proposes lifting the distance of passengers on the aircrafts. Carriers currently arrange for passengers to sit one meter apart and make sure the number of passengers not exceed 50 percent of the number of seats.

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.

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

Tuesday morning marked the fourth straight day Vietnam stayed clear of new coronavirus infections, keeping active cases at 48, including eight relapses. There have been no cases of community transmission in the country since April 16.

The Covid-19 pandemic has spread to 210 countries and territories, with more than 211,200 deaths reported so far.

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