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May 27, 2020 / 19:06

Vietnam transport ministry eyes resumption of international flights

The resumption of international air services will breathe life into Vietnam's tourism industry, which has been hard hit by Covid-19.

Vietnam's Ministry of Transport has requested the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) to submit a proposal on resuming flights on some international routes and the principle of gradually loosening immigration procedures as the country seeks to reopen its economy and trade ties with select partners.

 Passengers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. Photo: Thanh Nien Newspaper.

The resumption of air travel to certain countries need to be carried out on the mutual basis, according to the request of the Ministry of Transport to the CAAV.

The proposal needs to be submitted by June 10 and forwarded to the prime minister for consideration.

Vietnam has kept its borders closed in the context of the complicated Covid-19 pandemic in the world and only authorized some repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens home. Foreigners are allowed to enter in some exceptional cases.

According to the CAAV, the number of international passengers plunged 97.6% in May from a year earlier to just 78,000 while the number of domestic passengers decreased by 56.6% inter-annually to 2.8 million. 

Vietnamese airlines have seen their revenues from international markets nosedive to almost zero during the February-May period due to travel restrictions.

At a conference on stimulating tourism in the post-Covid-19 period on May 21, local aviation and tourism experts proposed resuming international air services with countries which have initially controlled Covid-19 like Australia, New Zealand, and Thailand.