Bad weather, quarantine regulations ground flights on first day of resumption

 Bad weather, quarantine regulations ground flights on first day of resumption

Tran Ba Vu Linh checks in at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport to fly to HCMC, October 10, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Dozens of flights were canceled on the first day of resuming domestic air routes due to bad weather and strict quarantine regulations.

Though the Ministry of Transport allowed airlines to operate 38 daily flights on 19 routes from Sunday, only 11 took off on the first resumption day while 27 others were canceled.

Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Thanh Hoa, Nghe An and Hai Phong had been canceled due to bad weather conditions triggered by the impacts of Storm Lionrock, which weakened into a tropical depression Sunday and caused heavy rains across northern and north central regions.

The HCMC-Hanoi commercial flight could not take off Sunday as Hanoian authorities failed to issue a specific centralized quarantine guideline for arrivals from HCMC. Hanoi earlier imposed a seven-day quarantine for arrivals from HCMC, with passengers having to pay their own quarantine and isolation expenses.

In addition, strict quarantine regulations imposed by localities caused some routes from HCMC to Hue and Quang Binh to be canceled.

Hue and Quang Binh required passengers to undergo seven-day centralized quarantine upon arrival.

Some other routes like HCMC-Phu Yen, HCMC-Gia Lai, Da Nang-Can Tho and Da Nang-Dak Lak were canceled due to a lack of passengers.

Luckily, some other routes returned to normal Sunday, which helped passengers return home for family reunions after several months of separation due to travel restrictions.

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Tran Ba Vu Linh, 37, arrived at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi for his Hanoi-HCMC flight with nearly 170 passengers on board.

In August, Linh returned to Hanoi on a flight from Singapore but could not fly home in HCMC as the government suspended domestic flights amid the worsening situation of the pandemic.

"I’ve been waiting over two months for this moment," he said.

Boarding the same flight with Linh, Nguyen Thi Hong Hanh, 42, who lives in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District, said she had immediately booked a ticket to HCMC to meet her husband, who had been stuck in the Covid epicenter for months as aviation authorities announced the flight resumption.

Hanh said her company is based in HCMC and the resumption of the Hanoi-HCMC route helps facilitate her travel for business.

Aviation authorities started resuming flights from Sunday after the government approved a 11-day pilot resumption plan.

At Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, Tran Quang Huy, 28, who flew home to the central province of Binh Dinh, said he has a small child so he did not dare travel home by road.

"The air ticket price was about twice as high as usual but I still accepted it to ensure safety for my family," he added.

Vietnam has not resumed interprovincial bus or train services, and thus people opt to travel by road have to ride their own motorbikes.

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