Transport ministry seeks resumption of regular int’l flights from Dec 15, end to quarantine for vaccinated passengers

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A Vietnam Airlines’ Dreamliner aircraft parked at San Francisco International Airport on the morning of December 1, 2021. This was the first regular non-stop commercial flight from Việt Nam to the US. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has submitted to the Prime Minister a plan on the pilot resumption of regular international flights carrying passengers to Việt Nam from December 15, in anticipation of a year-end surge in travel demand.

The first phase will last for two weeks, starting on December 15, during which regular flights between Việt Nam and destinations with a ihigh level of pandemic safety and high demand for entry into Việt Nam will be conducted, namely Beijing (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (the Republic of Korea), Taipei (Taiwan, China), Bangkok (Thailand), Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco or Los Angeles (the US).

The flights in this phase will connect with the international airports of Nội Bài (in Hà Nội) and Tân Sơn Nhất (in HCM City). There will be four flights per week on every way for each side. About 14,000 passengers are expected to arrive in Việt Nam every week.

Meanwhile, the second phase will last for a month after the first one concludes, starting in January 2022.

Apart from the nine abovementioned destinations, the transport ministry also proposed regular flights linking with Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hong Kong (China), Paris (France), Frankfurt (Germany), Sydney (Australia), and Moscow (Russia).

In addition to Nội Bài and Tân Sơn Nhất, the international airports of Đà Nẵng, Cam Ranh (in Khánh Hoà), Phú Quốc (in Kiên Giang), and Vân Đồn (in Quảng Ninh) are also proposed to host those flights in the second phase. The frequency will be raised to seven flights per week on every way for each side. The weekly number of passengers entering Việt Nam is estimated at some 40,000.

The transport ministry said to ensure the plan’s feasibility, it is necessary to gradually lift quarantine rules on passengers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease, and have a negative result of rapid antigen or RT-PCR tests within 72 hours prior to their flights.

In addition, the resumption of international flights can only be carried out based on the reciprocity principle and mutual recognition of the “vaccine passport,” which the transport ministry is urging the foreign affairs ministry to expedite, especially with countries in the two pilot phases.

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of Information and Communications should work together and agree on a single unified COVID-19 app that passengers will have to install on their devices for medical declaration and contact tracing efforts.

The transport ministry cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that Vietnamese citizens’ demand for returning home is now on the rise, especially when the New Year and Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays are approaching. Besides, there is also a large number of foreigners planning to go to the country for work, investment, business, and tourism purposes.

Given this, it is necessary to soon resume regular international flights carrying passengers to Việt Nam, according to the transport ministry.

The ministry also noted that in a meeting with airlines in late November, they all said they are more than prepared and ready to restart regular international flights.

Việt Nam, with a population of about 100 million people, has to date administered 128.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 55 million people double vaccinated. — VNS

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