Vietnam, India eye resumption of direct flights

By Vu Anh   December 17, 2021 | 02:03 am PT
Vietnam, India eye resumption of direct flights
An aircraft of IndiGo Airlines at Noi Bai International Airport, Hanoi, 2020. Photo courtesy of IndiGo Airlines
Vietnam and India have agreed to work toward recognizing each other's vaccine passports and soon resume direct flights to facilitate travel demand.

During a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, Vietnam's National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of Representatives) of India Om Birla agreed both countries should soon reopen direct flights and recognize each other's vaccine passports in order to enhance exchanges and meet travel demand.

Hue is on a five-day official visit to India starting Wednesday.

Australia, Belarus, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. have officially accepted Vietnam's vaccine passport while India and Canada have agreed in principle, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In 2019, Indian carrier IndiGo launched direct flights from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the first ever direct flights between the two countries.

The number of Indian visitors to Vietnam has grown steadily over the past years from 19.9 percent year-on-year in 2015 to 30 percent in 2018, and 28 percent in 2019, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Many Indian investors have been eyeing the Vietnamese market in recent years.

Vietnam grounded all international flights in March last year, allowing only Vietnamese citizens, foreign experts, investors, and highly-skilled workers to enter on special flights.

The government last week approved the resumption of commercial flights between Vietnam and nine destinations with high vaccination rates and good pandemic control measures in place from Jan. 1.

Regular flights are scheduled to resume to Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), San Francisco or Los Angeles (the U.S.), Seoul (South Korea), Singapore, Taipei (Taiwan), Tokyo (Japan), and Vientiane (Laos), .

In the second phase from Jan. 16, flights would be added on routes connecting Vietnam and Frankfurt (Germany), Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Moscow (Russia), Paris (France), and Sydney (Australia).

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