Insufficient supply pushes up airfaires during holiday season

April 17, 2023 - 08:01
New research has revealed that the price of flights and holidays has increased sharply as thousands look ahead to national holiday plans.

HÀ NỘI — To meet travel demand during the upcoming national holiday season, Vietnamese airlines have increased flights to popular destinations.

However, the high prices are hindering many people's travel plans.

Workers will enjoy five days off, from April 29 to May 3, to celebrate the commemoration of the Hùng Kings (the nation's founders) that falls on April 29, the National Reunification Day on April 30, and International Labour Day on May 1.

New research has revealed that the price of flights and holidays has increased sharply as thousands look ahead to national holiday plans.

Air tickets have almost been sold out, and only business class seats are left for the long holiday break.

According to information from air ticket agents, round-trip airfares for some routes from Hà Nội and HCM City to tourist destinations such as Phú Quốc, Đà Lạt, Huế, Đà Nẵng, Côn Đảo, Nha Trang are currently at a very high price, ranging from VNĐ4 to VNĐ8 million including taxes and fees.

For the Hà Nội-Phú Quốc route of Vietnam Airlines, the price for morning and afternoon flights is more than VNĐ8 million. Night flights are lower, about VNĐ7 million, but there are only a few seats left.

Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways all have prices of nearly VNĐ8 million to VNĐ8.5 million for a round-trip ticket.

For the HCM City-Phú Quốc route, the lowest price for the round-trip journey (including taxes) of Vietjet is VNĐ3.5 million; Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines range from VNĐ3.6-4 million.

Similarly, the flight from HCM City to Đà Nẵng is over VNĐ5 million for a round-trip, double the daily ticket price.

Due to high domestic airfares, some people have decided to switch to international tours.

Like many other workers who want to take advantage of the upcoming holiday to travel, Trần Tố Mai from Hà Nội's Thanh Xuân District is considering between Phú Quốc and Thailand.

“Spending VNĐ6 or VNĐ7 million to buy an air ticket to Phú Quốc Island is unreasonable. I decided to choose Bangkok, a better choice,” Mai told Việt Nam News.

"I only have to spend more than VNĐ7 million for a five-day tour to Thailand, while this amount is only enough for the round-trip ticket to Phú Quốc."

“Two years ago, my family also planned to travel to Nha Trang during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, but the ticket price doubled, so we had to cancel the plan."

Talking about ticket prices, Bùi Doãn Nề, vice chairman of the Aviation Business Association, said domestic airfares are high due to the sharp increase in fuel prices, USD exchange rate and interest rates, making the costs of airlines also increase.

According to a representative of the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV), as of March 31, the number of bookings reached an average of over 80 per cent of the total number of flights on April 30, and some flights were already full.

He also said that to meet the increased demand, airlines must ask for more flights.

All airlines have resumed international routes after the COVID-19 pandemic, so they have to balance their manpower and aircraft. They cannot massively increase domestic flights like in 2022, leading to the limitation of domestic flights.

That is the cause of the ticket price being pushed up, Nề told Công An Nhân Dân (People's Police) online newspaper.

On weekdays, travel demand is also higher than a year ago after all restrictions were lifted.

Vietnamese airlines have added more flights to popular destinations to meet travel demand during the upcoming national holiday season. — VNA/VNS Photo

In response to why domestic airfares tend to increase, a representative of Vietnam Airlines explained that fares are made flexibly by airlines, including many levels from low to high, with different conditions to meet customer needs.

Low-priced tickets will come with limitations, such as being non-refundable or non-adjustable.

Customers who buy tickets early will have the opportunity to buy tickets at low prices, and higher prices if they are close to the departure date.

The tickets at low prices have been almost sold out, and only tickets at high prices are left, but this price is still within the ticket price framework of the Ministry of Transport.

"This is the law of market supply and demand," a representative of Vietnam Airlines said. "If airline businesses only sell low-priced tickets and promotions, they can't make up for the cost."

“During the very peak period, the ticket prices on domestic routes of airlines are quite similar. The average price in the peak days of 2023 of Vietnam Airlines is still the same as in 2019."

Similarly, Bamboo Airlines said commercial aviation is a seasonal industry.

During peak periods such as April 30 to May 1, travel demand spikes, while the supply of airlines is limited, leading to high ticket prices.

The booking volume for some flight routes of the Bamboo Airline has reached over 90 per cent, or 100 per cent, with the routes from Hà Nội to Nha Trang, Đà Nẵng, Quy Nhơn, Huế, Phú Quốc, Côn Đảo and Quảng Bình, and HCM City to Đà Nẵng, Phú Quốc, Huế, Quy Nhơn and Côn Đảo.

A representative of Vietravel Airlines said that summer tourism is getting "hot" day by day with the upcoming national holidays, leading to higher airfares.

On weekends, fares are always 40-50 per cent higher than on weekdays.

To meet the travel demand, airlines have planned to increase domestic flights.

Vietnam Airlines will supply nearly 2,800 domestic flights with 551,000 seats from April 27 to May 4, an increase of 40 per cent compared to 2019 and an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2022.

Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways are also expected to increase the load by 15 per cent for the domestic market compared to the same period last year.

To better serve travellers' needs, the Ministry of Transport has requested the CAAV to direct airlines to arrange night flights to meet travellers’ needs in line with the aviation infrastructure whilst also ensuring security and safety. They were required to manage flight schedules to minimise flight delays and cancellations; publish and publicise selling prices following regulations on distribution channels.

The CAAV has called for greater communication with passengers about purchasing air tickets from authorised agents and official distribution channels and providing feedback on high domestic airfares to airline hotlines. — VNS