Nội Bài Airport is not as crowded as usual due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus epidemic. Việt Nam's aviation market was suffering heavily from the epidemic. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhật Anh
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese carriers saw significant drops in the number of passengers in February due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV), Vietnamese carriers transported a total 3.7 million passengers in February, representing a drop of 13.7 per cent against the same month of 2019. The number of international passengers saw a drop of 39.5 per cent to just 870,000, while domestic passengers slightly decreased by 0.7 per cent to 2.8 million.
With regards to the Chinese market, three Vietnamese carriers – Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet and Jetstar Pacific – and Chinese carriers had to cancel 80 flights between the two countries per day.
Vietnam Airlines reported that it had to cancel 1,000 flights to/from China in February and the damage was estimated at around VNĐ250 billion (US$10.7 million) each week, adding that it was facing with a lot of difficulties due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The airline saw severe declines of around 50 per cent in both international and domestic passengers and up to 70-80 per cent in passengers from Northeast Asia.
The CAAV’s statistics also revealed a drop of 11.6 per cent in the number of arrivals and departures at airports to 8.1 million in February. Of the figure, international passengers totalled 2.4 million, decreasing by 29.8 per cent. Domestic passengers slightly decreased by 0.7 per cent to 5.7 million.
CAAV said that Việt Nam’s aviation market saw two-digit decreases after many years of strong growth due to the direct impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.
CAAV raised three scenarios for the aviation market in 2020.
In the best scenario, in which China announced the end of the epidemic before April, Vietnamese carriers would see a slight increase of 1.1 per cent in the number of passengers, while the number of passengers received by the airports would be 119 million.
If the epidemic lasted until June, the respective figures would be 74.6 million (down 5.7 per cent) and 111.6 million (down 4.2 per cent).
In the worst-case scenario, if the epidemic did not end until August, the market would see drops of 17.2 per cent in the number of passengers carried by Vietnamese airlines to 65.6 per cent and 15.5 per cent in the number of arrivals and departures through airports.
According to the International Air Transport Association, the COVID-19 epidemic threatened to erase $29 billion of this year's revenue for global airlines, mostly for Chinese carriers. — VNS