Airlines need more guarantee factors to successfully take wing

January 09, 2022 | 07:00
While Vietnamese air carriers are ready for the resumption of international regular flights from early 2022, some challenges remain in the way.
Airlines need more guarantee factors to successfully take wing
A plane of Vietnam Airlines (Photo: VNA)

Three days before the reopening of international regular flights on January 1, a leader of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) under the Ministry of Transport said that, as of December 28, five countries and territories have agreed with Vietnam’s flight resumption plan.

The five economies are Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Cambodia, and the US. For Japan, the CAAV granted a license to the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and All Nippon Airways to fly to Japan, with the first flight by Vietnam Airlines scheduled on January 5, followed by Vietjet and All Nippon Airways on January 6.

The authority explained that the Vietnam-Japan flights cannot be operated from January 1 as Japanese agencies are in their New Year holidays.

According to the CAAV, South Korea, Laos, and China have not given any feedback on the Vietnamese proposal to resume flights. Meanwhile, Thailand urged for more discussions. Vietnam plans to resume international commercial flights to nine countries and territories from early 2022 under a pilot phase.

To facilitate the future recovery, the CAAV also asked the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to talk to French, German, Russian, and Australian authorities about the resumption of flights to these markets with the frequency of seven flights a week.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs estimates that more than 140,000 Vietnamese overseas want to go home. Airlines said that they need to have frequencies increased for flights to meet the high demand of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Therefore, the CAAV has also asked the MoT to increase the frequency from January 1.

Experts said that this is a good signal for Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and Bamboo Airways to recover after nearly two years. They are pinning high hopes on the resumption to tap into the growing demands from overseas Vietnamese, businesses, investors, and students, among others. At present, most flights taking Vietnamese people overseas are operated by international carriers.

According to the German Business Association, many investors are ready to reschedule their visits to Vietnam in the first half of 2022, and Germany is one of four European countries included in the pilot phase of the flight reopening. At present, air carriers are ready to take wings. For instance, Vietnam Airlines plans to reopen regular commercial flights between Vietnam and the US flight, with a frequency of two flights a week on Wednesdays and Sundays, with the first to be operated on January 9.

The national flag carrier even plans to resume commercial flights to 15 countries and territories in the first half of 2022, divided into two phases. In the first stage starting from January 1, Vietnam Airlines will operate two-way flights between Vietnam and the US, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. While in the second stage, the carrier will reopen flights to the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. Similarly, Vietjet is going to reopen commercial flights to Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Bangkok, Singapore, and Phnom Penh when it is possible.

This low-cost airline has announced to open Vietnam-Russia flights from July 2022, connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Nha Trang City with Moscow. Bamboo Airways will also resume international regular flights from early 2022, as it announced flights between Melbourne and Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Tien Lap, lawyer at NHQuang & Associates, said that this is an opportunity for domestic airlines. However, there needs a lot of factors to make the resumption successful.

“Air carriers should consider other factors, including preparations for flight scenarios, possible risks, costs, and others to ensure a profit,” he added. “Airlines are facing risks of an interruption after flights begin when the pandemic resurges,” Lap said.

Omicron is now present in the nine countries and territories that Vietnam plans to resume the flights to, thus requiring more COVID-19 prevention rules. Passengers must also make quick tests before boarding. At present, Japan and the US have quick test services at their airports, with the result to be produced in two hours. Therefore, the CAAV will continue working with other markets on adding the quick test requirement.

On December 27, only tickets for the flights on the Vietnam-Japan and Vietnam-US were being sold, while others were still pending agreements from countries.

By Tung Anh

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