Passenger traffic at Vietnamese airlines should rebound faster than in other Southeast Asian markets due to the country's low incidence of COVID-19 cases, according to Fitch Ratings.
|Fitch Ratings forecasts the traffic of Vietnam Airline to rebound the fastest in Southeast Asia |
Fitch Ratings forecasts that Vietnam's average revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) is expected to reach around 55 per cent of the 2019 baseline level in 2020 and 90 per cent in 2021.
Singapore Airlines, on the other hand, could witness the sharpest 2020 RPK fall, at 70 per cent, due to its complete dependence on international routes, with 2021's RPKs staying at around 50 per cent below 2019 levels.
Meanwhile, Indonesia and the Philippines, where further COVID-19 spread remains a high risk, are expected to see average RPK levels at 35 per cent of the baseline in 2020 and 60 per cent in 2021. Airlines in Thailand and Malaysia are also likely to report similar levels, as they would be affected by weak international traffic volume despite the countries' success in controlling the pandemic.
Fitch Ratings' forecasts are based on the assumption that a vaccine or treatment will not become available at scale in 2021, but that progress is made in controlling the pandemic. Airline passenger volume could improve faster than forecasted if an effective vaccine is distributed sooner than believed or if there is more success in containing the pandemic. However, the agency foresees flat demand in 2021 that will be well below the 2019 base should there be limited progress on this measure.
After the resurgence of COVID-19, Vietnamese carriers have resumed most of their domestic routes to serve the market demand.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has announced to reopen international flights to Japan from September 18. Specifically, Vietnam Airlines' flights from Hanoi-based Noi Bai Airport to Tokyo-based Narita Airport have departed in September. Meanwhile, flights from Ho Chi Minh City-based Tan Son Nhat Airport to Narita Airport was on September 30 on Boeing 787.
Vietnam Airlines also operated a flight from South Korea's Seoul to Hanoi on September 25. Moving forward, the airline is hoping to resume more routes to China, Taiwan, Laos, and Cambodia.
Vietjet also resumed international flights to Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), and Taipei (Taiwan) from September 29. Meanhwile, Bamboo Airways resumes flights to Taiwan and South Korea and plans to open routes to Japan, Singapore, and Australia later this year.