Air passengers near pre-pandemic levels

November 08, 2022 - 08:12
Passenger volume through Vietnamese airports reached more than 81 million passengers in the ten months of 2022, with 100 million forecast for the whole year. In 2019, the number was 120 million.


Passengers at Nội Bài International Airport. The total number of air passengers through domestic airports is expected to reach 100 million this year. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The total number of air passengers passing through domestic airports will reach 80 per cent of the peak number of passengers in 2019, said Đinh Việt Thắng, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV).

Thắng said passenger volume through Vietnamese airports reached more than 81 million passengers in the ten months of 2022, with 100 million forecast for the whole year. In 2019, the number was 120 million.

Vietnamese airlines carried 40 million passengers, and it is expected that the total number of passengers transported by domestic airlines in 2022 will reach 55 million. 

The domestic market has experienced high growth and can be considered one of the best post-pandemic growth markets. However, the international market has only recovered about 50 per cent, said CAAV.

Thắng told local media: "The restoration of flight routes in some key markets, especially China, is still facing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The negotiation to reconnect the flight route with this market is being actively implemented. Some markets such as South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan have opened, but travel demand is still very low."

Although the recovery results of international aviation have not been as expected, he calculated: "The bright spot for the international market in the first ten months is that we have opened the Indian market with a high production volume related to good shipping activities."

Phạm Việt Dũng, Chairman of the Việt Nam Aviation Business Association, and chairman of Việt Nam Air Traffic Management Corporation, said the local aviation market was on the way to recovery but not yet even in all segments. The domestic market has fully recovered, but the international market has recovered very slowly. Domestic passenger transport in 2022 increased by 12 per cent compared to 2019.

On the other hand, international freight transport increased, but domestic cargo decreased. Therefore, industry revenue is assessed as disproportionate due to the increase in fuel prices and some input prices, said CAAV.

Currently, businesses in infrastructure transportation have experienced a strong recovery, while airlines and passenger transport suppliers still face many difficulties.

In the first half of 2022, Vietnam Airlines Group, including Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and VASCO, achieved a net revenue of nearly VNĐ30 trillion ($1.3 billion) but still lost nearly VNĐ5.2 trillion. 

According to the experts, airlines and passenger transport providers still had to deal with the pandemic's adverse problems, especially the cash flow imbalance in two years when their operations were mostly frozen.

At the same time, rapidly increasing flights were seen for coming Tết (Lunar New Year) as local airlines race to increase 1.7 million seats to supply, including more than 1.1 million seats from Vietnam Airlines Corporation that consists of Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and Vasco and more than 600,000 seats from Vietjet Air.

CAAV said that on the occasion of the new Year of the Cat, from December 15 to the end of January 15, airlines will increase seats to serve people's travel needs.

As the national carrier, Việt Nam Airlines reported an after-tax loss of nearly VNĐ2.5 trillion in the third quarter of 2022, down VNĐ985 billion compared to the loss of the third quarter of last year. 

In the first nine months of 2022, Vietnam Airlines Corporation has operated more than 106,000 flights, up 118 per cent over the same period last year.

Aviation activity recovered when the blockade orders because of COVID-19 were lifted, helping Vietnam Airlines' consolidated net revenue in the third quarter of 2022 to reach VNĐ21.15 trillion, 4.5 times higher than last year. As a result, the corporation moved from a gross loss of more than VNĐ3 trillion in the third quarter of 2021 to a gross profit from sales and services of VNĐ165 billion in the last quarter.

The corporation said that the international shipping market was still recovering slowly, plus negative factors such as high fuel prices, the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict and financial risks of exchange rates and interest rates, so production and business activities would continue to suffer losses in the third quarter and the first nine months of 2022. 

A representative of Vietnam Airlines forecast the international market would gradually recover, giving the corporation's production and business activities more positive results in 2023.

Data from the finance and enterprise system WiChart shows that the number of international visitors to Việt Nam in October by air was nearly 434,000, an increase of 11.4 per cent compared to the previous month and 51 times higher than the same period in 2021 when the whole country was in lockdown against the pandemic.

The total number of passengers transported by air in October was more than 5.14 million, 28 times higher than last October. In July 2022, amid the peak summer tourist season, Việt Nam's aviation industry transported nearly 5.9 million passengers, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic, said WiChart. — VNS