Aug 18, 2020 / 13:42

Vietnam air carriers request reopening int’l air routes

The Hanoitimes - Vietnam and some countries have agreed to resume air travels with safety measures taken such as quarantining passengers and testing them for coronavirus.

The Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA) has petitioned the government to reopen international routes to countries deemed to be safe from Covid-19.

 Vietnam’s air carriers request reopening int’l air routes. Photo: the VABA

In the petition, the association requested the government to issue a protocol for the pandemic prevention and infection control in air transport and apply it to air travelers to ensure flight safety.

In addition, the association proposed a number of measures to support air carriers such as providing a credit package worth VND25-27 trillion (US$1.07 billion – US$1.16 billion) to subsidize interest rates for 3-4 years; prolonging the air service fee reduction period to the end of 2021; cutting 70% of environmental protection tax on fuel; speeding up the repair of runways at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat airports so as to finish the work in six months, among others.

Dinh Viet Thang, director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said that his agency has discussed with the authorities of some countries which are considered to be safe on screening measures. Some countries have agreed to open air routes to Vietnam, provided that screening measures are taken. Therefore, the resumption of international air travel depends on the intake capacity of quarantine facilities as well as that of the health sector in the country.

The National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control will decide when to reopen international routes and issue regulations such as quarantine fee collection and pandemic control protocols, Thang said.

In mid-July, the CAAV also proposed opening some international routes under the model of "intra-bloc movement”, meaning allowing entry for Vietnamese nationals, business executives, experts and students. Upon entry, they have to undergo quarantine for 14 days at home or at paid accommodation facilities designated by the government. Self-isolation at home is tightly controlled by technology.

Financial support

Concerning the fee reduction proposal, Thang said that local airlines are benefiting from fee exemption and reduction for many aviation services until the end of 2020. By the end of this year, the agencies will evaluate the impact of the disease to implement the next options for airlines.

After the resurgence of Covid-19 in late July, the demand for domestic air travel decreased dramatically due to safety concerns. Local airlines lost all opportunities to exploit the peak tourist season in summer.

Vietnam Airlines expected its revenue this year to reach VND50 trillion (US$2.15 billion) and a loss of about VND13 trillion (US$559 million).

According to its second-quarter financial statement, Vietjet Air saw its revenue down 80% year-on-year to VND1.97 trillion (US$84.7 million) due to Coivd-19, and reported a loss of VND1.1 trillion (US$47.3 million).

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The estimated that in the most optimistic scenario, by 2022, the local aviation market could reach the results it attained in 2019.