|Airlines of several carriers at Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport in HCM City . Photo vietnambiz.vn|
HÀ NỘI – The country’s newest carrier Vietravel Airlines has delayed its launch plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The airline was given principle approval from the Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc to start operations in October, but the plans have been put on hold.
Founded by one of the country’s largest tour operators Vietravel, the airline is scheduled to start commercial operations in the third quarter of this year with a fleet of three airplanes, which could be raised to eight by 2025.
The airline plans to provide charter flights for its own tourists and general passengers, targeting the one million tourists Vietravel serves annually. It will be headquartered in the central Thừa Thiên Huế Province’s Phú Bài International Airport.
Representative from the airline told the Vietnam News Agency plans for its first commercial flights slated for October would be postponed because of the pandemic.
Up to now, the company had yet to set up a specific date for the airline to take off, the representative said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Planning and Investment indicated that given the preliminary evaluation, the airline is expected to contribute VNĐ3.6 trillion to the country’s added value and VNĐ3.2 trillion to Việt Nam’s earnings and create jobs for more than 590 employees within the first five years of operations.
Currently, Việt Nam has five operational airlines. They are national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, budget carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines (with a majority owned by Vietnam Airlines), Vietjet, Vietnam Air Services (VASCO) and Bamboo Airways. Two others - Kite Air and Vietstar Air are waiting for operational authorisation.
Vietnamese airlines are among many others around the world suffering heavy losses caused by COVID-19. According to the estimations of Vietnamese airlines, the transport ministry said that the initial damage due to stopping flights is about VNĐ30 trillion (US$1.3 billion).
The Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam has recently issued two scenarios. The first one is that if the disease is controlled before April, the total number of passengers reaches 67 million, down 15 per cent compared to 2019.
The second one, in case the market worsens, and the pandemic is controlled in the second quarter, the total market reaches 61.2 million passengers, down 22.6 per cent year-on-year. VNS