Transport Ministry proposes measures for resumption of regular international flights

The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has sent a proposal on measures needed to be taken for the resumption of regular international flights to the Government’s Office, according to Deputy Minister Le Anh Tuan said.

Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, the Deputy Minister said the proposal was submitted following meetings between the MoT and domestic carriers namely Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and concerning ministries.

He said all airlines and airport operators asked for resuming regular international passengers flights. The airlines also suggested lifting quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travellers or those having recovered from the COVID-19, who have negative virus test results taken within 72 hours prior to their travel, Tuan said.

International airports have got themselves ready to welcome back regular international flights, with 10% of employees vaccinated against the virus and issuance of COVID-19 hygiene guidelines, he added.

The deputy minister further noted that the Ministry of Health has been drafting a guideline on relaxing quarantine rules for arrivals, which is expected soon to be released, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been accelerating talks with foreign counterparts on the mutual recognition of “vaccine passport.”

The Ministry of Public Security has also been developing an integrated mobile app for immigration reviews, health declaration and vaccination certification, the deputy minister said.

For the part of airlines, in a letter sent to the Prime Minister proposing the resumption of international air routes, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Vietnam Airlines Dang Ngoc Hoa pointed out multiple risks Vietnam is likely to face if international flights will not be reopened anytime soon.

Vietnam may lose its competitive edges in the eyes of not only tourists but also investors, Hoa said. Aviation and tourism firms in Vietnam are struggling, he noted, adding that they are on the brink of bankruptcy and losing competitive advantages to regional rivals, making post-pandemic recovery even harder.

Vietjet Air Deputy Director-General Nguyen Van Son said it is critical for Vietnam to early resume international flights, particularly from/to countries with high vaccination rate.

Data shows that the aviation sector served 13.4 million passengers in the first 10 months of this year, just equal to 22.5% of the pre-pandemic level (2019).

The number of air travellers only totalled 2.1 million between May and mid-November when the country was hit by the fourth COVID-19 wave, equivalent to 5.8% of 2019’s figure. The foreign arrivals only accounted for 1% of the pre-pandemic level.

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