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Airlines propose 2,480 additional flights during Tết

Update: January, 07/2017 - 09:00
Passengers wait for flight check-ins at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday last year. The airport is operating beyond its designed capacity. VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY The aviation authority has approved several proposals from local airlines to increase the number of domestic flights to meet high demand during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, although only half of the requested additions have been approved.

Local airlines such as national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and budget airlines Vietjet and Jetstar have asked for permission to add a total of 2,486 flights, but the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV) has approved only 1,270 of the proposed flights.

Hồ Quốc Cường, chief of the aviation transportation under CAAV, attributed the reason for the decision to the serious overload at HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport, the country’s busiest airport.

The airport can handle no more than 42 flights per hour, he said.

In a report submitted to the Ministry of Transport on Thursday, CAAV said the airlines would be permitted to operate additional domestic flights between January 16 and February 12, a rise of 8.5 per cent compared to ordinary days.

Vietnam Airlines has been allowed to add 380 flights with more than 76,700 seats during the festive season, while Vietjet and Jetstar will add 560 flights (100,800 seats) and 330 flights (59,400 seats), respectively.

Around 1,067 of the approved extra flights will depart or land at Tân Sơn Nhất airport. The additional flights will only operate from 11pm to 7am daily.

During Tết, Tân Sơn Nhất airport will serve 807 flights per day during peak time, a 7.7 per cent increase from the normal schedule.

CAAV has approved nearly all of Vietnam Airlines’ extra flights, but Vietjet will only be able to offer half of its proposed additional services. Jetstar has had 30 per cent of its requests approved.

Under CAAV’s decision, the three carriers will be forced to cut a total of 230,000 seats from their previously planned Tết services.

Passengers who have booked flights on the airlines’ extra flights before approval from CAAV are concerned about their holiday plans.

Hồ Quốc Cường, chief of the aviation transportation under the CAAV, said the air carriers might not sell tickets for all of the planned extra services, so there was little chance that passengers with purchased tickets would miss flights.

“If this happens, carriers must pay compensation and take full responsibility for the passengers,” he said.

Trịnh Ngọc Thành, deputy general director of Vietnam Airlines, said the decision had not affected the airline’s operation because the carrier had not sold tickets for additional flights that had not been approved by CAAV.

Tết falls in late January, but HCM City residents often begin flying back to their hometowns weeks before the holiday. — VNS

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