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Saturday, December 3, 2022

Many ministries support proposal to reopen int’l air routes

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – The ministries of Health, Culture-Sports-Tourism, Foreign Affairs and National Defense have thrown their support behind the Ministry of Transport’s proposal to resume regular international flights from December 15.

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh chaired a meeting to discuss the proposal, in which the reopening of scheduled international flights would be piloted in two phases, the local media reported.

The first phase will see the resumption of flights between Vietnam and China’s Beijing, Japan’s Tokyo, South Korea’s Seoul, Taiwan’s Taipei, Thailand’s Bangkok, Singapore, Laos’ Vientiane, Cambodia’s Phnom Penh and the United States’ San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Only the Tan Son Nhat (HCMC) and Noi Bai (Hanoi) international airports would be allowed to handle flights to and from these markets. In addition, four flights per week on each route in each direction would be allowed, carrying some 14,000 passengers to Vietnam per week.

In the second phase, which will begin in January next year, the Ministry of Transport proposed reopening more routes, including those between Vietnam and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, France’s Paris, Germany’s Frankfurt, Australia’s Sydney and Russia’s Moscow.

Besides the two airports in HCMC and Hanoi, the Danang International Airport in the city of the same name, the Cam Ranh Airport in Khanh Hoa Province, the Phu Quoc International Airport off the coast of Kien Giang Province and the Van Don Airport in Quang Ninh Province should be added to the list of airports eligible for handling scheduled international flights.

In this phase, which will last for a month, the flight frequency will increase to seven on each route in each direction, carrying around 40,000 passengers to Vietnam per week.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Health Do Xuan Tuyen said up to 97% of residents aged 18 and older had got the first Covid vaccine shot and over 70% had received their second shots.

Meanwhile, many Vietnamese laborers whose employment contracts are invalid, students and other Vietnamese citizens in other countries are looking to return to Vietnam. In addition, a large number of investors, experts and workers are also interested in Vietnam.

As for instructions about the quarantine of passengers entering Vietnam, the deputy minister said the Ministry of Health had completed a draft plan and was consulting with the relevant ministries and agencies.

A representative of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said that since Vietnam piloted a plan to welcome back international tourists, nearly 1,200 tourists have come to Vietnam and none have tested positive for Covid-19. Vietnam expects to welcome more than 15,000 passengers by the end of this month.

According to leaders of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense, the country should make careful preparations for the resumption of international flights.

Deputy PM Minh said the reopening of international air routes was a must in the new situation, especially when the travel demand would be high at the end of the year.

Vietnam will reopen air routes to/from safe countries and passengers need to meet anti-pandemic requirements during the pilot period.

He also requested a single health declaration app for international air passengers.

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