HCMC – The Ministry of Transport has urged the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) to finalize a plan to resume regular international flights to and from Vietnam, Deputy Transport Minister Le Anh Tuan told the Vietnam News Agency on August 18.
The plan will be submitted to the Ministries of Health, Foreign Affairs and National Defense and other ministries and government departments for consultancy.
In the initial plan, which had been completed before the second wave of Covid-19 transmission hit the country in late July, the Transport Ministry proposed resuming international flights to Vietnam from August 1. Due to the complicated development of the pandemic, the Government has asked the ministry to alter the plan.
CAAV Chairman Dinh Viet Thang said the authority has worked on the resumption of flights with the relevant agencies of some countries that have successfully contained the Covid-19 pandemic. They agreed that passengers must undertake Covid-19 tests and remain in compulsory quarantine. Therefore, the resumption of international flights will depend on Vietnam’s quarantine and Covid-19 testing capacity.
“The national steering committee for Covid-19 infection prevention and control will decide when to reopen international air routes to Vietnam and issue regulations related to quarantine costs and control over tourists,” Thang said.
In mid-July, CAAV proposed reopening flights to transport citizens, businesspeople, experts and students between Vietnam and countries that have successfully contained Covid-19. They would have to be placed under a compulsory 14-day quarantine period with close control from the local authorities.
Thang said the Government has removed or reduced the fees of many aviation services for airlines until the end of this year. The relevant agencies will reassess the situation later this year to further support airlines.
Late last week, the Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA) suggested the Government reopen international flights between Vietnam and countries that have successfully contained Covid-19.
VABA also proposed a credit package worth VND25-27 trillion (US$1.08-1.17 billion) for airlines and a 70% cut in the environmental protection tax imposed on flight fuel until the end of 2021.
Moreover, the association suggested speeding up the repairs of runways and taxiways at the Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat international airports.
The Vietnamese aviation sector has been severely affected by the pandemic. Although airlines have cut costs, sold aircraft and reduced the salaries of their employees, they still suffered huge losses.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines forecast that its revenue would reduce by half to VND50 trillion and it would suffer a loss of VND13 trillion this year.
Low-cost carrier Vietjet Air’s revenue in the second quarter of 2020 was VND1.97 trillion, down 80% compared with the same period last year. The airline suffered a loss of over VND1.1 trillion from April to June.
According to the International Air Transport Association, a complete recovery of the global aviation sector to the 2019 level is not expected until 2023. It also forecast that Vietnamese airlines would lose more than US$4 billion due to Covid-19 this year.