New domestic routes expected to revive aviation sector hinh anh 1Local airlines open new domestic routes after the pandemic is controlled (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Hanoi (VNA) – Launching domestic routes is billed as a good way to save Vietnamese airlines, who have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to insiders.

Since Vietnam successfully nipped the pandemic in the bud in May, airlines have rushed to open new routes connecting well-known tourist spots in the nation in a move to save themselves while supporting the local tourism industry.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has opened a total of 22 new routes, increasing its domestic network to 61 with up to 500 flights per day. Those include Da Lat - Thanh Hoa, Can Tho - Da Lat, Hai Phong - Can Tho, Vinh - Can Tho, Hai Phong - Buon Ma Thuot, Can Tho – Buon Ma Thuot, Hai Phong – Dien Bien, Da Lat – Phu Quoc, Can Tho – Phu Quoc and Da Nang- Van Don.

Vietnam’s newest carrier Bamboo Airways has been busy in making plans to resume domestic services together with operating new flights between Thanh Hoa and Quy Nhon, Da Nang and Da Lat, Da Nang and Can Tho, Da Nang and Vinh, Hai Phong and Da Nang, and Hai Phong and Da Lat. In August, it will open new routes connecting Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Can Tho to Con Dao island to meet summer travel demand.

Earlier, low-cost carrier Vietjet announced its eight latest flights linking Hanoi and Dong Hoi (Quang Binh province), Hai Phong and Quy Nhon (Binh Dinh province), Vinh and Phu Quoc, and Da Nang and Phu Quoc, Da Lat, Buon Ma Thuot (Dak Lak province), Vinh and Thanh Hoa.

According to Vietnam Airlines CEO Duong Tri Thanh, the new routes will help the carrier overcome difficulties, as 40 percent of the airplanes are not in opperation for international service due to the pandemic.

“With the routes, Vietnam Airlines is able to cover variable costs, including fuel and crew salaries, while slashing 500-600 billion VND (21.49 – 25.79 million USD) in its monthly fixed expenses of 2.1 trillion VND. Furthermore, they help generate cash flow for the business, and realise the Government’s tourism stimulus programme,” Thanh said.

Sharing the same viewpoint, Bamboo Airways CEO Dang Tat Thang held that revenue from the domestic market is the main income of local airlines, helping them defray labour cost, operation cost, aircraft purchase, and many other fixed expenses.

“Income of the aviation which serves as a motive for other economic sectors will be a lever for the economic revival in the future”, he affirmed.

General Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) Dinh Viet Thang said the coronavirus has pushed many airlines in the world into bankruptcy, with renowned Virgin Australia, Thai Airways and Avianca Holdings competing for their hundred years of flying.

When social distancing measures are eased, airlines have made good recovery by carrying out a wide range of services, he said.

The local aviation sector holds huge potential to develop, Thang said, considering that, if each Vietnamese citizen travel by air twice a year, on average, airlines can serve 180,000 passengers.

New domestic routes expected to revive aviation sector hinh anh 2Vietnamese airlines hold huge potential to develop (Photo: VietnamPlus).

The CAAV had previously predicted double-digit growth by 2025 for local aviation. However, as the COVID-19 outbreak hit the sector, the local market is believed to recover by mid-2021m with the international market recovering by the end of 2021.

Tran Dinh Thien, a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group, said resumption of domestic flights together with eased social distancing measures is a great support for airlines’ business; however, formidable challenges await them before reaching the break-even point.

Thien suggested the Government mete out fine policies to ensure the aviation sector’s development in line with infrastructure while creating a healthy competition among airlines./.