Vietnam can gradually resume regular international flights by late 2021 as the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programs in the country and abroad is accelerated.
|Flights at Noi Bai airport. Photo: Pham Hung|
This comes as Vietnam’s major markets for local airlines in Northeast Asia and Europe are putting the pandemic under control.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAA) made the assessment in a recent report submitted to the Ministry of Transport.
“Given the improved outlook, Vietnam’s aviation industry could recover from the mid-third quarter with the number of air passengers reaching an estimated 70 million this year, an improvement from 66 million recorded last year,” it noted.
In the meantime, the CAA pointed out two recent Covid-19 outbreaks in the peak domestic travel seasons, including the Tet festival and summer holiday [April 30-May 1], are causing a plunge by 70-80% of domestic transportation volume compared to March-April.
“The situation is especially severe given the social distancing order adopted in the Ho Chi Minh City from May 31,” stated CAA General Director Dinh Viet Thang, adding the average transportation volume in the first two weeks of June was equivalent to 5-10% against April.
According to the CAA, the number of air passengers in the first six months of 2021 was estimated at 26.8 million, down 19.4% year-on-year, in which foreign passengers declined by 98% to 145,000.
Meanwhile, 668,000 tons of cargo were handled through airports during the period, up 12.7% year-on-year.
The CAA also noted around 30 foreign airlines from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and France are operating flights for cargos, diplomats, experts, investors, and students to and from Vietnam.
Domestic airlines, however, are focusing their resources on domestic flights as international flight routes have not been reopened.
In terms of airline infrastructure, the local authorities have completed the first phase of upgrading runways at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International Airports in the first half of 2021.
The second phase of upgrading the 1B runway at Noi Bai airport is set to complete in July, in turn, meeting the growing operation demand of local airlines after the fourth Covid-19 outbreak.