Friday, October 23 2020

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Safety first when reopening international flights

Update: September, 22/2020 - 00:00

 

Airlines strive to reopen international flights after prolonged delay due to COVID-19. — Photo vietnamplus.vn

Doctor Lương Hoài Nam, an aviation expert, talks to VietnamPlus online newspaper about measures to ensure the efficiency of Việt Nam’s resumption of international flights  

What do you think about Việt Nam’s resumption of some international flights?

We can see the way that many countries in the world like Singapore and Thailand have gone. They have created “travel bubbles” which include bilateral or multilateral agreements that clearly regulate the responsibilities and tasks of the host countries and destinations to ensure the implementation of pandemic prevention and control regulations.

Only when the resumption of international flights is based on such detailed agreements can it gain trust from passengers on travel safety. If not, Việt Nam could face a situation like some other countries that do not require social distancing and people will not feel secure to travel. In that case, airlines will face losses.

There are concerns that the resumption of international flights may import COVID-19 into Việt Nam. What do you think?

I think Việt Nam should soon negotiate with relevant countries and effectively control the pandemic to create travel bubbles to reopen international air routes and tourism at a more practical scale with a number of passengers big enough to increase the efficiency of the resumption of air and tourism services.

Whether the reopening of international flights imports the pandemic or not depends on the way we open and on the countries that we choose to open with. Secondly, we should have agreements with partners on processes that both sides need to do. So we should not say in general that resumption of international flights could import the pandemic if co-operation in pandemic control and prevention among countries is good enough. That is why Malaysia and Singapore have reopened flights between each other without much concern.

Malaysia and Singapore have also resumed travel on land with a large number of people travelling between the two countries but they have mutual agreements on the process that both countries must carry out so there is not any concern about the import or export of the pandemic between the two sides.

It is important that such agreements are made in detail and there is effective co-ordination among pandemic prevention and control centres and relevant agencies in Việt Nam and partners.

To resume international flights, it is necessary to remove the psychological barrier of passengers about the possibility of getting infected with COVID-19 while travelling and being put into quarantine after arriving in destinations. What do you think?

We should make pandemic prevention and control agreements with relevant countries based on strict, clear and transparent principles to gain trust from passengers.  

If we do not approach the reopening of international flights to welcome foreign tourists following the model of safe travel bubbles based on bilateral or multilateral agreements, no regions in the world can reopen international flights. As a result, we will miss the opportunity to revive the aviation and tourism sectors and economic development. — VNS

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