|Propose to re-open international flights to 15 countries |
The CAAV has proposed the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to re-open regular international flights in four phases.
In the first phase, flights will transport returning Vietnamese travellers and international visitors coming on a tour. Specifically, in the fourth quarter of 2021, combo flights from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, and Australia will be approved.
Passengers will have to pay for a travel package including flight tickets, isolation accommodation, and COVID-19 testing. They should have a negative COVID-19 test and will undergo isolation for seven days if they have received two shots of vaccines or 14 days if they have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. Foreign visitors need a negative test certificate, have a full dose of COVID-19 vaccine and must register for a tour package of a travel agency.
In the second phase, from next January, normal flights will be allowed on a pilot basis four times a week for each route. Passengers will include Vietnamese and foreigners coming from 15 countries and territories (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, France, Germany, Russia, UK, Australia). Compared to the previous proposal, CAAV has added the UK, Laos, and Cambodia to the list.
Passengers having received both shots or recovered from COVID-19 will have to stay at paid isolation facilities for seven days, and have to hold a negative test certificate. The isolation period will be 14 days for those who have not been administered full shots.
In the third phase beginning in April 2022, depending on the vaccination progress in Vietnam and the application of vaccine passports, Vietnamese and foreign tourists will not have to stay at an isolation area after entry. Flights will be expanded with each airline allotted an initial frequency of seven flights a week.
Passengers will be required to have full injections or have recovered from the virus and still self-quarantine at their residence for 3-7 days. Unvaccinated passengers will be required to be isolated at a paid facility for 14 days.
In the fourth phase from July 2022, regular international flights will be operated (depending on vaccination progress) for passengers meeting the requirements of Vietnamese health authorities. The frequency of flights will not be limited. However, isolation requirements will persist.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has asked Vietnam to quickly apply digital certificates of testing and vaccination to accelerate international flights to and from Vietnam. More than 70 airlines have already applied and committed to apply the IATA Travel Pass.
Goh, vice chairman of the IATA in the Asia-Pacific said that the schedule of Vietnam's re-opening of international flights is quite good, however, it should reconsider its isolation policies for international visitors after the strong progress in vaccination.
Therefore, the IATA urges governments to follow the World Health Organization with its planning to reopen borders by ensuring unimpeded access to vaccinated passengers; antigen testing; the government should pay testing so as not to hinder passengers.
Goh added governments should adopt digital health certification solutions, including vaccination and test results, when borders are reopened. With travel demand returning to pre-COVID-19 levels, paper-based documentation will take overly long.
In the Asia-Pacific, numerous countries like Singapore, Australia, and Thailand are receiving international visitors. Europe and the Americas have also opened and have no isolation policies for passengers.
Vietnam still restricts international flights. Currently, more than 30 foreign and Vietnamese airlines operate flights from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe to transport goods, diplomats, experts, foreign students to and from Vietnam, licensed by the CAAV. A number of charter flights transporting Vietnamese people home also continue operating.