Aviation authority wants regular int'l flights to resume right in fourth quarter

October 22, 2021 - 15:57

In the first phase, Việt Nam will reopen air routes to China, Hong Kong (China), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia


Flight from Seoul, South Korea landed at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội on September 2020. Under the Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam's proposal, the resumption will start with flights for Vietnamese citizens using the combo of airline ticket, COVID-19 testing fee, food and stay at hotel for health quarantine. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Civil Aviation Authority of Việt Nam (CAAV) has proposed the Ministry of Transport permit airlines to resume international air routes right in the fourth quarter of this year.

Under the proposal, the resumption will start with flights for Vietnamese citizens using a combo of airline ticket, COVID-19 testing fee, food and stay at a hotel for quarantine.

Passengers will spend seven days in paid quarantine areas if all the passengers on their flight are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19. Passengers from other flights will undergo 14-day quarantine.

The first international air routes for reopening this year include those to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia and Australia. International airports including Vân Đồn (in Quảng Ninh Province), Đà Nẵng (in Đà Nẵng City) and Cam Ranh (in Khánh Hoà Province) will receive the international flights. Other international airports could still be open but permissions from local authorities are pending.

Municipal and provincial people’s committees will decide the frequencies of the international flights.

At this time, Việt Nam only allows international flights that carry foreign tourists to specific locations including Phú Quốc Island, Khánh Hòa and Quảng Ninh.

Once the CAAV’s proposal is approved, in the first month of implementation, there will be one flight a day. In the following month, it’s expected to increase to two flights daily.

The CAAV also proposed that in the second phase of international air route reopening, regular international flights are only for fully vaccinated passengers or those who have recovered from COVID-19. Passengers will not have to obtain any documents to enter Việt Nam but meet requirements on immigration and health control.

In this phase, Việt Nam will reopen air routes to China, Hong Kong (China), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia and other markets that are not recommended for limited travel by the national steering committee of COVID-19 prevention and control.

It’s expected there will be four flights weekly on each route.

Passengers are only allowed to check-in at their departure airports when it is confirmed that they have paid the cost of a 7-day quarantine at a designated hotel-charged quarantine facility in a locality of Việt Nam including ground transportation to the hotel.

Depending on the results, the CAAV will propose adding new markets and increasing the frequency to match herd immunity and market demand.

In the third phase expected to start from April 2022, regular passenger flights to Việt Nam will be deployed depending on the progress of vaccination in the country and assessment of herd immunity after mass vaccination.

Post-entry quarantine is not required when applying the “vaccine passport” mechanism.

Passengers in this period will be Vietnamese and foreign citizens with a certificate of having had a full two doses of COVID-19 vaccine or confirmation of recovery from COVID-19.

International air routes will be reopened based on airlines’ needs with an initial frequency of 7 flights/week/way for each airline.

Regular international flights are expected to be reopened fully from July 2022 but the reopening still depends on the vaccination progress and herd immunity after vaccination in the country.

According to Vietnam Airlines, currently, it is still offering commercial flights departing from Việt Nam to European countries, Australia, Japan and China but has yet to receive international flights.

Only flights that serve State’s purposes and carry Vietnamese citizens home are allowed to land at Việt Nam’s airports now.

“If Việt Nam does not reopen international air routes soon, it can miss opportunities to attract visitors because neighbouring countries resumed international flights and even don’t require visitors to be fully vaccinated. They just ask for negative result of PCR testing,” a representative from Vietnam Airlines told Vietnam News Agency.

Vietravel Airlines Chairman Nguyễn Quốc Kỳ said that the most important issue now was a Government master plan for economic recovery.

Under the plan, all localities can determine their risk of COVID-19 pandemic and their response, he said.

If localities used different criteria to assess their risk and impose different COVID-19 prevention and control measures, the reopening of international air routes could not generate results as expected.

Regarding which markets to reopen first, Kỳ said that as Việt Nam closed air routes due to the pandemic, the opening must also be rolled out in line with the pandemic’s developments.

In other words, flights between countries would be reopened if they recognised each other's pandemic control efforts and status, he said. — VNS