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Dec 20, 2020 / 07:59

Covid-19 takes a heavy toll on Vietnam aviation industry

The aviation industry has experienced a sharp decrease in passenger volume this year.

The impacts of Covid-19 and unfavorable weather conditions have sunk air passenger volume this year, according to the latest report from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) on December 18.

 The aviation industry has experienced a sharp decrease in passenger volume this year. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

According to the CAAV, Vietnamese airlines carried out around 340,000 flights in 2020, a decrease of more than 31.9% compared to 2019.

The volume of air passengers this year is estimated to reach only 66 million, 43.5% less than past year. In terms of freight tons, the total load reached only 1.3 million tons, 14.7% less.

Due to the pandemic and unfavorable weather, the work of ensuring aviation security faces a number of risks, the CAAV reported.

Since the fleet has been on the ground for a long time, ensuring sufficient spare parts for the maintenance of a large number of aircraft has been a challenge, affecting aircraft operations and the regular training of pilots.

In 2021, the pandemic situation is forecast to be serious, so domestic aircraft carriers and related businesses must regularly update the operating standards and procedures issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization; enhancing aviation security surveillance; improving the quality of flight crew testing and licensing, according to the CAAV.

The national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and two budget carriers of Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airlines have requested for government support and refinancing loans. They estimated that in such a situation, the industry will only be able to fully recover by 2023 at the earliest. The National Assembly has recently approved a support package for Vietnam Airlines.

Vietnam Airlines previously requested refinancing loans worth VND12 trillion (US$518.57 million) from the government, including a loan of at least VND4 trillion ($172.85 million) with preferential interest rates.

The airline also suggested that it could sell stake worth VND8 trillion ($345.7 million) to existing shareholders. In this case, State-owned State Capital Investment Corporation, the largest shareholder of Vietnam Airlines owing 86 per cent of stake, could be the agency to buy this amount of shares.