Passengers ensure distance while completing procedures at the Cần Thơ Airport. — VNA/VNS Photo Quang Hải
HÀ NỘI — Different airlines continuously reopened regular international routes in the early days of this year, bringing good news for 140,000 overseas Vietnamese to have an opportunity to return home and enjoy the approaching Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Phạm Việt Dũng, Chairman of the Việt Nam Aviation Business Association (VABA) said that with the early recovery of the domestic aviation market, the rapid reopening and expansion of international routes had been approved by the Government.
Vietnam Airlines on the first day of this year reopened a regular international flight from HCM City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
It plans to gradually restore regular international routes after reopening flights from Hà Nội to Tokyo on January 5.
From January 1, Vietjet also reopened international routes to Japan, Taiwan (China) and Singapore.
Bamboo Airways has prepared plans and resources to open international routes to key markets of Việt Nam.
In phase one, it plans to operate direct flights to Japan, Taiwan (China) and South Korea. In phase two, it will operate direct flights to Germany and Australia.
VABA General Secretary Bùi Doãn Nề said that international routes restoration from the very first days of the new year proved positive signals of the aviation industry.
The reopening of international routes was very necessary after a long time of closure because if it stayed closed for a long time, many domestic aviation businesses might disappear from the market, he added.
To ensure the dual goals of both economic development and pandemic prevention, choosing markets from countries with good COVID-19 control and high vaccination rates as proposed by the Ministry of Transport was reasonable, said Nề.
Forecasts of international organisations, including the International Air Transport Association, say that the domestic aviation market will recover around next year and the international aviation market will recover in 2024.
The recovery speed of different markets depends on the vaccination process and each country's plan.
The VABA proposed a maximum relaxation of quarantine regulations for passengers with the policy of "safely adapting, flexibly and effectively controlling COVID-19 pandemic," and towards lifting quarantine regulations for passengers and for crew members of Vietnamese airlines who have just completed flights from abroad.
A spokesperson of the Ministry of Transport said that in the first stage of reopening international routes, for 10 to 15 days, the ministry would have specific assessment to make appropriate adjustments.
Due to COVID-19, air passenger transport has declined sharply since 2020.
By the end of September last year, the total market reached only 13.4 million passengers, down 42.1 per cent compared to 2020 and down 77 per cent compared to 2019.
For international flights, airlines had only 349,000 passengers, down 95.1 and 98.8 per cent over the same period in 2020 and 2019, respectively. — VNS