|Côn Đảo Airport. VNA/VNS Photo|
CÔN ĐẢO — The Ministry of Transport will enforce the inspection and penalisation of airline booking agencies in an effort to stop ticket stockpiling and shortages.
Citizens have struggled buying tickets because of high prices, especially during Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday and other national holidays.
In response, the Ministry of Transport has plans to address issues surrounding the ticket shortages.
According to the ministry, the transport infrastructure on Côn Đảo Island is still very limited. Without a night light system, Côn Đảo Airport currently can only operate between 6am and 6pm, handling small aircrafts such as the ATR72 and Embraer190.
Only three airlines currently conduct flights to and from Côn Đảo District, with a limited number of seats on each.
This makes it difficult to meet travel demands from the mainland to Côn Đảo, especially during holidays. Meanwhile, the number of passengers, specifically tourists, travelling to and from Côn Đảo has also risen.
With the increase in demand, airline and cruise ship ticket agents across the country have been stockpiling tickets, hoping to profit off resales to tours and tour groups. This has prevented local residents from buying tickets, while unsold tickets from agents mean that planes have not been operating at full capacity.
These factors have contributed greatly to the strain on ticket availability for passengers in general, not to mention civilians and civil servants living in Côn Đảo District.
The Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) is required by government regulations to sell air tickets at preferential prices to local citizens and civil servants working in Côn Đảo and has been carrying out these policies.
VASCO offers Côn Đảo citizens and civil servants a 44 per cent discount on flexible economy fares and select standard fares, while Bamboo Airways offers a 10 per cent discount on all retail tickets. According to officials at the Ministry of Transport, the booking and sale of these tickets are being done openly and transparently.
Vietnam Airlines and VASCO have reduced prices for 9,146 eligible passengers within the first six months of 2022, an increase of 130 per cent compared to the same period in 2019 and 2020.
However, many customers still have a hard time exercising their benefits because of the mass hoarding of tickets by agents. Citizens have appealed to the Ministry of Transport to resolve this issue.
The ministry has since issued a statement directing the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV)– among other agencies and units – to urgently check and verify reported incidents, strictly handle any violations, strengthen the inspection and supervision of ticket sales, and reinforce the transparency of ticket prices.
They also request the CAAV to closely monitor whether civilians and officials living and working in Côn Đảo District are receiving the guaranteed preferential prices.
Airlines have also been requested to restrict offending agencies’ sales and access to the shared reservation system in order to limit the phenomenon of ticket stockpiling and keeping pre-booked seats empty.
The ministry implores citizens to plan trips ahead of time, and those who have specific information about any attempts to stockpile plane tickets should report directly to the Ministry of Transport or the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam for verification and strict handling in accordance with regulations.
The Ministry of Transport is proposing the suspension of operations of Côn Đảo Airport in 2023 to upgrade its runway and terminals, which will make the transportation of people from the mainland to and from Côn Đảo even more challenging.
The ministry will request transport enterprises and agencies to increase high-speed train and helicopter services to meet people’s travelling needs. VNS