In the early days of 2022, Vietnam’s airports were packed with passengers, which was good news for the local aviation industry and a positive sign for strong economic recovery.
According to the Southern Airport Authority, on February 6, the number of passengers on domestic flights to HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport reached 70,000. This was the highest number of passengers since domestic air services resumed in Vietnam.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), from December 29, 2021 to January 10, 2022, domestic airlines operated 4,480 flights with 547,000 passengers, and the average seat occupancy reached 64%. The demand for flights from Ho Chi Minh City to/from the Central Highlands, Central and Northern provinces has risen strongly again.
After reopening international flights, the aviation market also saw many positive signs. In the first week (January 1-7), there were 16 commercial flights from the US, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Taipei (China) to Vietnam, with about 1,000 passengers.
Surveys by international aviation organizations show that 70-80% of respondents said that they would travel by air. A slow re-opening of the aviation market would hinder the recovery of Vietnam’s tourism industry.
At its recent annual meeting held in Boston (USA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the aviation industry will gradually recover in 2022. The organization forecast that international travel demand will double in 2022 and reach 44% of the level of 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.
IATA emphasized that the rate of people vaccinated against Covid-19 as well as the lifting of restrictions in many countries will be the two main factors that positively affect the recovery of the world aviation industry.
Vietnamese air carriers ready to fly internationally
Local airlines are ready to exploit a series of domestic and international air routes. Bamboo Airways has launched direct flights between Hanoi and Rach Gia, and Ho Chi Minh City and Dien Bien, and it plans to expand its international air routes this year.
In 2021, BamBoo conducted the first non-stop flight to the US and announced regular non-stop commercial routes to the US, UK and Australia. In 2022, Bamboo Airways opened ticket sales for international routes to Taiwan (China), Japan, Korea, Singapore, Germany, UK, and Australia. It is also preparing to expand regular flights to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and the US.
Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines has announced a plan to resume regular international flights between Vietnam and 15 countries and territories in the first half of 2022. In phase 1, Vietnam Airlines plans to operate two-way flights between Vietnam and the US, Japan, Korea, Taiwan (China), Singapore, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. After that, it will restore more two-way routes between Vietnam and the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Hong Kong (China) and Malaysia.
At the same time, Vietjet Air has resumed regular flights to Japan with one flight per week and is expected to increase the frequency in the near future.
Vietravel Airlines has opened ticket sales for its domestic routes such as Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City and from these two cities to major tourist destinations such as Da Nang, Nha Trang (Khanh Hoa), Phu Quoc (Kien Giang), and Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh).
Mr. Bui Doan Ne, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA), said that aviation is the driving force for economic development. Aviation growth of 2.5% will contribute to stimulating national GDP growth of 1%. Before the pandemic, Vietnam’s annual air transport revenue increased by 15%-20% on average.
He forecasts that Vietnam’s economic growth in 2022 will be 6 to 6.5%. This is the basis for the growth of the aviation industry to reach 15-20% compared to 2021. If the epidemic is controlled and the economy is opened up, Vietnam’s aviation industry will recover sustainably in 2022.
Mr. Darren Hulst, Boeing’s Vice President of Commercial Marketing, said that a strong and sustainable domestic market to support international services is a key factor in the recovery process.
The Airports Council International (ACI) anticipated that in the 2018-2040 period, Vietnam will have an average annual passenger growth rate of 6.2%, the highest in the world, thanks to the rise of the middle class and the development of airlines.
For the January-November period of 2021, the number of domestic tourists was 34.75 million, and total revenue was 167 trillion VND, 40% down year on year.