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Jul 01, 2020 / 13:13

Vietnam aviation authority proposes resuming int'l flights by end-July

Vietnam is expected to adopt “travel bubble” scheme with countries and territories where the coronavirus outbreak is under control.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed the Ministry of Transport consider gradually reopening commercial international air routes from the end of July as part of measures to restore the economy, according to VnExpress.

Vietnam aviation authorities proposed gradually reopening commercial international air routes from the end of July as part of measures to restore the economy. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam will create a “travel bubble” among countries which are putting the coronavirus under control and going through 30 days without reporting infection.

Under the travel bubble scheme, the countries allow the entry of their citizens or foreign nationals with residence and business cards, technical experts, and students. Once in the country, they have to be isolated for 14 days at home or at paid facilities indicated by the local governments. Those undergoing home isolation will be strictly monitored by technology.

However, the agency also recommended that the borders should be reopened to foreign tourists as well, provided that they meet the requirements on Covid-19 prevention before entry.

Accordingly, travelers to Vietnam, who have been in any local infection free country or territory at least 30 consecutive days prior to the flight could be allowed to enter, except for transit passengers. In addition, they must have a coronavirus negative certificate issued within 3 days before the departing flight date.

Upon arrival at Vietnamese airports, passengers would be subjected to rapid coronavirus testing, the expenses of which are paid by the airline. Passengers on entry must stay at locations ordered by local governments and pay fee.

In order to implement the above plan, the CAAV suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should discuss with the diplomatic missions to unify the coordination of regular aviation activities.

Dinh Viet Thang, head of the CAAV, said that some Taiwanese airlines have proposed to resume flights to Vietnam.

Domestic carriers also plan air reconnection with foreign destinations from July 1, if authorized by the government. As normally, international routes contribute mainly to total revenue of Vietnamese airlines. For Vietnam Airlines alone, the figure is up to 60% of its total revenue before Covid-19.

The CAAV said that some countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have opened their borders to each other, creating opportunities for businesses to reopen. Visitors from outside the bloc are still required to isolate themselves for 14 days upon entry.

At a government meeting on June 24, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc ordered increasing the frequency of international flights to bring investors, experts, skilled workers into Vietnam as well as sending Vietnamese people abroad to work and study.

All experts, high-skilled workers, and investors are allowed to enter Vietnam with an appropriate isolation protocol. However, the country has not opened its doors to tourists. 

Basing on international and regional situation of Covid-19, the government is considering resuming international commercial flights and the date will be studied by the National Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

Vietnam Airlines case

As Vietnam Airlines is among the companies hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic, the national air carrier is forecast to face a loss of over VND15 trillion (US$645.5 million) and a cash shortfall of some VND16 trillion (US$688.5 million).

Eariler, Vietnam Airlines proposed the government to lend a maximum of VND12 trillion (US$509 million) at a preferential interest rate to help the air carrier overcome serious impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

If the corporation does not receive financial support from the government, its operating capital will be exhausted in August, Chief Accountant of Vietnam Airlines Tran Thanh Hien said at a meeting on June 18.

The national air carrier also proposed issuance of shares for its existing shareholders to raise capital, in which the government will use its capital or assign State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) or other state-run enterprises to buy its new shares. The scale of issuance will be equivalent to VND12 trillion (US$509 million).