|Passengers check in at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City.
Thu Ha, who works for a bank in Ho Chi Minh City, had to pay more than VND20 million (more than US$880) for three return flights on Vietnam Airlines to Da Nang for a family reunion during the traditional Tet festival.
Thu Ha will depart three days before Tet and return 10 days after the first day of Tet. “This year’s airfare is much higher than in previous years,” Ha said.
A man named Vinh from HCM City’s Phu Nhuan district said he paid for a flight at 10am, but it was recently changed to an early evening flight.
Many other passengers were facing the same challenges.
Hung, an air ticket sales agent from Nha Trang city in the central province of Khanh Hoa, said that passengers flying with low-cost airlines were facing the same situation.
Budget carrier Vietjet Air has announced that tickets for its HCM City-Vinh flights between January 29 and February 1 (three days before Tet) have sold out. Tickets on February 3 cost over VND2.8 million.
Similarly, Jetstar Pacific said there were no more tickets on its four daily flights from HCM City to Vinh between January 31 and February 2.
These three airlines have sold out HCM City-Hue flights between January 29 and February 2. However, tickets are still available on these dates for flights from HCM City to Da Nang, Nha Trang and Hanoi.
Tickets remain available for HCM City-Hanoi flights during the same period because there were many more flights on this route.
The number of air passengers during the New Year and Tet holidays are expected to rise by 11 percent compared with the previous year, according to forecasts from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
CAAV has also asked agencies in the aviation sector to gather resources to meet passengers’ rising demand for transport.
Dinh Viet Thang, head of CAAV, said carriers would add 32 airplanes during the holiday period, bringing the number of aircraft used for domestic flights from 158 to over 180.
Jestar Pacific said the carrier would add 80,000 seats for domestic flights over the period, and will have more flights on the Hanoi-Can Tho route, using Airbus aircraft.