|Passengers having temperatures checked at Hà Nội's Nội Bài International Airport. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport on Monday asked for the Prime Minister’s approval on the three-phased resumption of regular international flights to Việt Nam, with the first phase starting in the first quarter of next year.
Under the ministry’s proposal, Vietnamese and foreigners from 15 countries and territories – China, Hong Kong (China), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, France, Germany, Russia, UK and Australia – will be able to enter Việt Nam without special permission, with immigration and health documents.
According to the ministry, the selected countries/territories now have higher COVID-19 vaccination coverage than Việt Nam. People from such areas are allowed to enter Việt Nam with a combo package that covers all expenses including air fares, quarantine fees and COVID testing, or under a pilot programme for foreign tourists to several localities in Việt Nam.
During the first phase, there will be four flights weekly each way, carrying about 12,000 passengers to Việt Nam per week.
Fully vaccinated passengers will have to take 7-day health quarantine per the Ministry of Health’s guidance. They have to have a vaccination certificate or document proving that they recovered from the COVID-19 within the last six months, along with confirmation that they have paid for quarantine accommodation (hotel) and transport costs.
Passengers who have not been fully vaccinated will have to take a 14-day health quarantine. They will also have to show proof of payment for a registered quarantine facility.
In the second tranche, starting from the second quarter, passengers with vaccine passports will not be required to take the centralised health quarantine.
Việt Nam currently accepts COVID-19 vaccine passports from 72 countries and territories, and is discussing the issue with 80 others. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the US, the UK, Japan and Belarus now officially accepted Việt Nam's vaccine passport.
Airlines will be allowed to resume international routes based on demand, offering seven return flights per week for each airline.
Passengers with vaccine passports must self-quarantine at their residency for three to seven days under the Ministry of Health’s guidance. Those without vaccine passports will still take a 14-day centralised quarantine.
In the third phase starting from the third quarter of next year, regular commercial international flights will be resumed based on the development of COVID-19 and vaccination in Việt Nam and the world. Airlines will be allowed to decide flight routes and flight frequency themselves.
The Minister of Transport also asked the Government to decide on specific times for the implementation of each international flight resumption phase.
Since March 2020, international flights departing from Việt Nam could carry passengers and goods but the flights landing needed special permission from Việt Nam’s authorities.
Between April 2020 and September 2021, more than 274,000 people entered Việt Nam by air including 110,000 Vietnamese citizens returning home on repatriation flights and other 30,000 passengers arriving Việt Nam with combo packages (air tickets, hotel, travelling and COVID-19 testing fees).
Currently, only 19 foreign airlines and only one local airline, the national carrier Vietnam Airlines, are allowed to carry passengers to/from Việt Nam, as they have permission from authorised agencies.
Last month, Việt Nam recorded about 7,500 international return flights, with a total of 350,000 passengers.
Last year, the country received just 3.83 million foreign visitors against a record 18 million in 2019, marking a year-on-year decline of 79 per cent. — VNS