Aviation sector falls from peak to bleak season due to COVID-19 pandemic hinh anh 1Vietnamese airlines have been clobbered by the second wave of COVID-19 (Photo: VietnamPlus).

Hanoi (VNA) –
The impacts of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been felt across the aviation industry in Vietnam, as flights have been canceled and travellers still choose to stay off airplanes amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Passengers are less willing to fly

After a new outbreak of COVID-19 hit the central city of Da Nang, flights to and from Da Nang were suspended on July 28. Along with a significant reduction of daily flights, Vietnamese carriers have seen a significant drop in the number of passengers to other destinations due to concerns about the epidemic.

The number of flights has fallen by some 12 percent, while that of passengers has dropped more than 30 percent compared to the figures before the outbreak.

Though flights to other domestic destination are still operated as normal and it is still travel season, strong discounts for tickets to renowned hotspots like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Quy Nhon are not attractive enough to persuade travellers to get on planes. The outbreak has turned peak season into bleak season for aviation sector.

According to Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways Nguyen Khac Hai, Bamboo quickly resumed full domestic operation after COVID-19 was brought under control in April. The carrier achieved an average flight occupancy of 80 percent on many routes in June and July, much higher than the period before the 2020 Lunar New Year.

“Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak hit Da Nang and Quang Nam at the end of July, forcing the Ministry of Transport to ground all flights to and from Da Nang from July 28 to mid-August to prevent the spread of the virus”, Hai said.

Following the transport ministry’s order, many customers decided to postpone their trips, and asked for airfare refund or cancellation for flights taking off in August.

In a bid to ensure the customers’ rights, airlines refunded tickets to/from Da Nang free of charge, as well as free of charge and unlimited changes to flight time or destinations.

Airlines need financial support to overcome scourge of pandemic

Bamboo Airway has proposed the Government order competent authorities to outline suitable solutions as well as adjustments to air service cost.

“In long term, private enterprises need preferential mechanisms and financial support to restore business”, Hai stated.

In a bid to optimise domestic operation and meet travel demands of customers, Hai said the repair and upgrade of runways at Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat International Airports should be sped up, while construction of Long Thanh International Airport and Terminal 3 project at Tan Son Nhat Airport should be sped up.

Bamboo Airways also hoped tourism promotion campaigns will sharpen focus on travel safety to restore travel demand, thus generating income for the aviation sector.

The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) has reduced many air service fees for six months from March to August to support airlines suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACV reduced fees for a range of airline services at airports, including service fees for aircraft navigation (cut by 50 percent); and pipe ladder services, carousel rentals, automatic baggage handling, check-in counters and ground services (by 10 percent).

In addition, ACV, which operates more than 20 airports across the country, will waive office rental fees for airlines that have stopped flying, and reduce fees by 30 percent fees for airlines that are still operating flights.

ACV will also waive fees for some specialised aviation services.

Aviation sector falls from peak to bleak season due to COVID-19 pandemic hinh anh 2The aviation sector is proposing that the Government adjust air service fees such as ground service, and aircraft navigation service. (Photo: VNA)

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee and Head of the Prime Minister’s economic advisory group Nguyen Duc Kien said that the Government submitted to the National Assembly Standing Committee a proposal regarding reduction of environmental protection tax on jet fuel by 30 percent from August 1 to December 12 to ease difficulties for the aviation industry.

“The policy cannot serve as a lever for airlines to develop but at least it can help generate money flow for their activities. The Government has mapped out several scenarios to cope with the pandemic”, Kien said./.