Only Japan has officially agreed with Vietnam’s plan to resume regular international flights starting next year with four flights a week, the Civil Aviation Authority said on December 23.
Vietnam is eyeing restoring air links from January 2022 to nine destinations with a high level of epidemiologic safety: Beijing/Guangzhou (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Taipei (China), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco/Los Angeles (United States).
The aviation authority said countries are all paying attention to restoring air connections, but there are still a lot of issues that need to be considered, including disease prevention and control protocols, whether those protocols are convenient for passengers, as well as allotment of flights to airlines.
Aside from Japan, no other country on the list has given its official response.
However, since the national carrier Vietnam Airlines received permission from the US authorities to conduct non-stop commercial flights to the country, it is expected that the scheduled trips will continue to go on normally.
With regards to flights between Japan and Vietnam, since before the pandemic, only Vietnam Airlines and the budget carrier Vietjet operated flights to and from Japan. So the early 2022 pilot phase will involve only these two airlines.
Japan has also announced that two of their airlines, Japan Airlines and ANA, will be operating the flights to Vietnam and back.
Emphasising that the Government's decision on the time to reopen international flights from January 1, 2022 is a good sign, Vietnam Airlines is preparing for the restoration of international flights by piloting five provinces and cities when the Government allows.
Vietnam Airlines said it is also preparing to reopen international routes to Europe and Australia, where there is a huge demand from overseas Vietnamese who wish to return or visit Vietnam, especially with the traditional Tet (Lunar New Year) drawing near.
Vietjet Air’s representative said that the airline is ready to reopen regular international routes to Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, and Phnom Penh.
According to the Ministry of Transport’s plan, there will be between four and seven flights to Vietnam each week from each of the countries on the list. Airlines are ready to operate the number of flights as allotted.
After the market recovers and when there is no need to limit the number of flights, airlines could restore the pre-pandemic frequency.
The health ministry earlier issued COVID-19 guidelines for overseas arrivals, which allows fully vaccinated/recovered COVID-19 entrants with negative RT-PCR COVID-19 tests to self-quarantine at home or place of accommodation for three days.
Vietnam aims to vaccinate all adults in the country against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.