Passengers queue up outside a check-in counter on April 27 at Tân Sơn Nhất Airport. Photo courtesy of dulich.tuoitre.vn
HCM CITY -- With demand for air travel recovering and surging for the upcoming holidays, the aviation and tourism sectors are hoping to make good after suffering severe pandemic impacts.
HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất airport has become crowded ahead of the Reunification Day and Labour Day holidays. In contrast, during the social distancing period, the airport was empty and silent, only serving about 10 flights per day (mainly carrying goods).
The airports in Đà Nẵng and Cam Ranh were frozen during the social distancing periods, and a slow thaw has been happening since October 2021 as more people got vaccinated and travel demand began picking up.
To cash in on the upcoming boom, travel agencies have recruited more staff and invested in sprucing up facilities.
Tickets for flights at normal hours from Hà Nội and HCM City to popular tourist destinations like Đà Nẵng, Nha Trang, Đà Lạt, Phú Quốc and Côn Đảo Island are sold out.
It was reported that on April 27, many passengers had to sit on the floor at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport while waiting to board their planes, all seats having been taken. Food stalls at the airport have been packed with people in recent days.
Last week, the Vietnam Airlines Group, comprising Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and VASCO, increased the number of flights to meet increased demand.
According to a representative of Bamboo Airways, travel demand increased quickly after the pandemic situation eased and travel restrictions were lifted.
The searches for domestic flights and accommodation facilities this month have increased 44 per cent year-on-year, according to data from Google's Destination Insights.
Đinh Việt Thắng, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, said the number of passengers travelling by air during the long holiday this week would increase by 25-30 per cent against normal days and reach about 90-95 per cent against the same period last year
Tạ Thanh Bình, a security officer at the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport, said he took his family on a vacation to Phan Thiết before April 30 and was ready to handle the bustle of the upcoming holidays.
"It is a norm for people in the aviation industry to go to work when many people take vacations," Bình said.
Security staff do not get much rest these days, given the packed flight schedules. In fact they add to their work by guiding passengers in and out the check-in counter.
“In addition to domestic tourists, the airport has started welcoming international guests from the West and India. This is really a rapid resurgence for the aviation industry,” Bình said.
Overcrowded Đà Lạt, VũngTàu
The popular resort town of Đà Lạt in Lâm Đồng Province expects to receive more than 180,000 tourists during the four-day break, an increase of 135 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Hotels and homestays in Đà Lạt are almost fully booked.
Trần Thị Vũ Loan, vice chairwoman of the Đà Lạt City People's Committee, said that the city was prepared to welcome the high number of visitors. In fact, it had also prepared to accommodate tourists unable to book hotels or homestays in rooms provided by locals.
Meanwhile, the beach town of Vũng Tàu expects to receive 160,000 tourists during the holiday, double the crowd compared to the recent three-day holiday for the Hùng Kings’ festival.
Room prices in some hotels in the downtown area have doubled against normal days to between VNĐ2 million and VNĐ3 million a day.
Nguyễn Đình Hùng, general director of Sags Company, said that aviation industry was reviving faster than forecast. He said the company had received many cooperation offers from international carriers like Air Incheon, Ethiopian Airlines, Fits Aviation and Garuda Indonesia to open new routes to the Tân Sơn Nhất Airport with a frequency of 5-7 flights per week.
He said all preparations had been made to serve guests during the April 30 and May 1 holidays.
This "bright spot" would be a motivation for airlines to prepare for the upcoming time when more barriers are removed, he said.
"We are recruiting more staff to meet increasing travel demand.” Hùng added.
Passengers at airports reach record prior to holidays
The number of passengers at Nội Bài and Tân Sơn Nhất international airports reached a record on Friday, a day before the nation's four-day holiday.
Tô Tử Hà, director of Nội Bài International Airport said it was expected to handle 549 flights on April 29.
The number of travellers at the airport was projected to hit a record of 75,000, surpassing the figure on April 30, 2019 – before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that the number of visitors to the airport would be 70,000 today (April 30).
Passengers were encouraged to check themselves at self-service kiosks to avoid missing flights at peak hours.
Passengers line up to check in at Noi Bai International Airport on April 29. VNA Photo
Meanwhile, a representative at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport said it was expected to receive over 100,000 visitors on Friday. He attributed the sharp increase in the number of passengers to a rise in flight frequency and customers’ demand during the holiday.
From April 29 to May 4, there will be approximately 700 flights to and from Tân Sơn Nhất airport daily on average, according to the Southern Airport Authority.
The number of travellers at the airport is projected at about 105,000, including about 13,000 foreigners. From May 3 to May 4, about 60,000 domestic tourists from provinces are expected to return to Tân Sơn Nhất airport per day.
The airport authority has requested airlines and related agencies to deploy more personnel during the holiday to ensure smooth movement of people and vehicles.
About 100 volunteers have been mobilised at the airport to facilitate check-in procedure and security check during the period.
The airport has taken measures to prevent congestion, including advising passengers to efficiently arrange their time to catch flights and book cars during peak hours.
More security scanners have been installed at baggage check area. Staff are not allowed to take leave during this time and have to be on duty in full strength during peak times. - VNS