The first flight to Japan is scheduled to be operated by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on January 5, and by Vietjet Air and All Nippon Airways on January 6. —VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Plans are in place to resume some regular international flight routes to Việt Nam, almost two years after they were halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first regular international route to resume will be the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines flying to Japan on January 5, 2022. Vietjet Air and All Nippon Airways will resume flights on January 6, 2022.
Deputy Minister of Transport Lê Anh Tuấn said that it was impossible for this route to resume sooner, due to the Japanese New Year holiday which means that testing facilities are not operating.
However, only those eligible for entry to Japan will be able to fly. A ten-day quarantine on the Japanese side is still required.
Taiwan (China) also agreed to restart flights, according to a letter sent on December 24 to the Vietnamese authority. Taiwan authorities have suggested at least five flights a week.
On December 27, the aviation authorities of Singapore issued a written agreement that Vietnam Airlines can operate two flights per week. As well as this, Vietjet Air will operate one flight per week and Pacific Airlines will operate one flight per week to the city state.
On December 28, the Cambodian side agreed in writing, after requesting more information from Việt Nam about the proposal. Vietnam Airlines will operate four flights per week.
Vietnam Airlines has already been licensed by the aviation authorities of both Việt Nam and the United States to operate regular flights between the two countries. The airline has been cleared to immediately begin flights as planned and does not need any further approval.
Negotiations on restarting flights to other countries are still ongoing. The Thai aviation authorities received a request on December 27 regarding the resumption of flights to Việt Nam, but an official response has not yet been received.
The ministry is also working with representatives of the South Korean embassy and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Việt Nam to push for an early reply on the plan to resume flights to Việt Nam. South Korea is currently applying a 10-day quarantine for foreigners entering the country, while Taiwan (China) also has COVID-dependant entry requirements.
Mainland China and Laos have not yet responded to Việt Nam's request to a letter sent from the Civil Aviation Administration of Việt Nam on December 23.
More to come
On December 27, the Ministry of Transport chaired a meeting between the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, Transport, Public Security, and National Defence and airlines to discuss and agree on the resumption of regular international commercial flights.
The Government has agreed to reopen regular international passenger flights to nine countries and territories; Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Taipei (Taiwan - China), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco/Los Angeles (the US).
The first scheduled international commercial flight to Japan is on January 5, 2022.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the demand for returning the country by Vietnamese citizens in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (China) will be huge, especially during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.
“In order to better meet the demand of overseas Vietnamese trying to return, representatives of the ministries agreed to increase the frequency of flights to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (China) to seven flights per week to help passengers have more options at a more reasonable price," Tuấn said.
Regarding the proposal of airlines to open regular flights to Europe and Australia, the ministries said that Vietnamese citizens in European countries and Australia hope to have direct flights to Viêt Nam for the Tết holidays.
The transport ministry had previously proposed to the Prime Minister resuming flights to France, Germany, Russia and Australia from January 1, 2022. At the meeting, the ministries agreed to apply regular international commercial flights to the European and Australian markets.
The Prime Minister has been asked to consider increasing the frequency of regular international commercial flights carrying passengers between Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (China).
It has also been proposed that the pilot plan be extended to Europe and Australia to satisfy the demand created by Vietnamese citizens abroad trying to return for the Lunar New Year holidays.
Under the ministry’s plan, regular international passenger flights will resume to Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Taipei (Taiwan - China), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco/Los Angeles (the US). — VNS