|COVID-19 can cause an economic loss of 25 trillion VND to domestic airlines firms - Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
At the conference, the minister underlined the strong impacts of COVID-19 on the transport sector. The sudden suspension of flights to mainland China has put great pressure on airlines. Railway, land and waterway transport are also affected.
Director General of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) – Dinh Viet Thang said the aviation market began to plummet at the end of January.
As of February 26, Vietnamese airlines had stopped all flights to China, cut 34 percent of flights to Taiwan (China) and 92 percent of flights to Hong Kong (China). While all 160 flights to Japan have been maintained so far, carriers are assessing the epidemic situation with a high possibility of having to reduce services in the coming period. The number of flights to the Republic of Korea has also been reduced by 41 percent.
According to Thang, in the best scenario with the epidemic contained before April, Vietnam’s airlines would transport 48 million passengers, down 9.2 percent year on year.
In the worse scenario with the epidemic put under control before June, and all flights to the RoK suspended, Vietnamese carriers would transport 45.7 million passengers, down 17 percent.
To support domestic carriers in coping with negative effects of COVID-19, the CAAV recommended that the Ministry of Transport ask the Government to provide subsidy for aviation service fees for local airlines from March 1 to May 31 this year.
It also suggested creating conditions for aviation service suppliers to reduce fees for airlines and other service users.
In addition, the CAAV proposed the exemption of import tariff and environmental tax for aviation fuel for three months, the delay of tax and budget contributions for airlines, and easing visa policies for foreign visitors.
Director of the Transport Department Tran Bao Ngoc reported on the problems faced by land, railway and waterway transport.
The number of passengers in land transport in February went down by 16.3 percent from the previous month, while that of railway plunged 45 percent from January and 47.4 percent from one year ago.
Domestic maritime firms have also reported a 30 percent reduction in cargo volume compared to January and 17.8 percent in number of passengers.
Concluding the conference, Minister The required relevant agencies to keep updated on the transport sector’s losses caused by impacts of the COVID-19 and swiftly consider the suggested measures.
He asked airlines to consider opening new routes to densely-populated areas not affected by the epidemic.