Vietnam plans to restart int'l commercial flights later this year

 Vietnam plans to restart int'l commercial flights later this year

Aircraft park at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa

Aviation authorities have outlined a detailed four-phased plan to resume international commercial flights starting later this year to help reboot the tourism industry.

In a draft plan sent to the Ministry of Transport on Friday for approval, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam proposed launching pilot flights to carry foreign tourists to some tourist destinations like Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa and Quang Ninh during the first phase scheduled to start this quarter.

Kien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, Da Nang and Quang Ninh, home to a number of famous tourist hotspots, will be allowed to welcome foreign tourists starting November as part of Vietnam's roadmap to gradually resume international tourism.

Visitors need to furnish a certificate showing they were fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to arrival or recovered from Covid. All tourists must show a negative Covid certificate using the PCR method within 72 hours before departure and are required to book a tour package with designated travel agencies.

There would be one daily flight, with around 4,000 to 6,000 tourists allowed to visit the country in the first month, with the flight frequency increased to two in the next months.

In the second phase from next January, aviation authorities want to resume regular commercial flights that only carry passengers who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the disease.

CAAV eyes the resumption of commercial flights with mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia and other markets not included in the list of restricted entry. Each side would operate four flights a week.

Passengers are only allowed to commence check-in procedures when they are confirmed to have paid the cost of seven-day quarantine at a designated hotel in Vietnam.

Based on vaccine coverage and herd immunization threshold after mass vaccination, aviation authorities would consider launching regular commercial flights in the third phase from next April that would allow passengers with vaccine passports approved by Vietnam to be exempt from quarantine upon arrival.

Vietnam currently accepts Covid-19 vaccine passports from 72 countries and territories, and is discussing the issue with 80 others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Thursday.

From July, aviation authorities would operate regular international flights based on travel demand at that time.

Vietnam Airlines currently operates one-way flight to carry passengers from Vietnam to Asian and European destinations.

Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, Vietnam’s biggest feeder tourism markets, have controlled the pandemic and boast high vaccine coverage.

Vietnam closed its doors to foreign tourists and canceled all international flights in March last year to contain Covid, allowing only Vietnamese repatriates and foreign experts and highly-skilled workers to enter.

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