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CAAV proposes resuming int’l regular commercial flights in four phases

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed resuming scheduled international commercial flights in four phases.

In a document sent to the Ministry of Transport, the authority suggested launching combo flights for Vietnamese citizens and piloting flights for international tourists to Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa and Quang Ninh in the first phase, the local media reported.

Specifically, combo flights will be launched in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and other markets with a high demand for laborer transport. The frequency of flights will depend on the localities’ quarantine capacity.

As for flights for international tourists, CAAV proposed not limiting the number of markets and permitting foreigners who have proof of a negative test result taken within 72 hours before their flights and proof of full vaccination, with the second dose taken at least 14 days earlier and no more than 12 months before departure or certificates showing they have recovered from Covid in the last six months. They must also register all-in tours of local travel companies.

Localities that will pilot the resumption of international tourism will welcome a flight per day with a total of 4,000-6,000 tourist arrivals in the first month. The flight frequency will be increased to two per day in the following month.

In the second phase, which was planned to begin in January 2022, CAAV proposed piloting regular international flights carrying passengers with complete Covid vaccination certificates or those who have recovered from the disease. They don’t need to show documents allowing them to enter the country, except for immigration and medical control.

In this phase, flights from 15 markets which are not listed as unsafe by the national anti-Covid steering committee, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany and France, should be allowed with a frequency of four flights per week for each side.

Tourists must stay at paid quarantine facilities for seven days if they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. The quarantine period will be 14 days if passengers have yet to be fully vaccinated.

In the next phase, which will begin in April next year, Vietnamese and foreign visitors flying to the country will not be sent to isolation centers but have to self-isolate at their residences for three to seven days if they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. If they have not got a Covid-19 vaccine, they will be sent to paid quarantine centers for 14 days. Each airline will be allowed to operate seven flights per week.

In the last phase, which will start in July 2022, airlines will not restrict flights.

Dr. Bui Doan Ne, vice chairman and general secretary of the Vietnam Aviation Business Association, said quarantine regulations would restrict the number of air passengers. Vietnam has committed to recognizing the Covid-19 vaccine passports of many countries, so vaccine passport holders should not be required to undergo quarantine.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has asked Vietnam to apply the digital recognition of vaccination and testing results quickly.

Philip Goh, vice president of IATA in the Asia-Pacific region, lauded CAAV’s roadmap to resume international air routes. However, the regulations on quarantining international guests will hinder the recovery of aviation and related sectors, he added.

A representative of Vietnam Airlines threw his support behind the plan to resume international regular commercial flights. If Vietnam is slow, it will lose opportunities to compete with other countries as many other countries have issued multiple policies to attract air passengers.

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