Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam has reopened international routes to and from 20 countries and territories so far, out of 28 that were running in the 2019 winter flight schedule before the COVID-19 broke out, according to a transport official.

Vietnamese aviation authorities have officially lifted all restrictions on the frequency of international flights since February 15, marking the first time in two years the network returned to normal.

The resumed routes included those to Cambodia, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Taiwan (China), Thailand, and Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Laos, mainland China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia and the United States, Director of the Transport Department under the Ministry of Transport (MoT)Tran Bao Ngoc told reporters on February 22.

The eight destinations to which air routes have yet to resume are Brunei, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Macau, Finland, Italy and Switzerland.

There are currently 370 international flights to or from Vietnam per week per way, equivalent to 53 flights per day per way. However, it is much lower than the frequency of international flights in the 2019 winter flight schedule, which was 4,185 flights per week per way, meaning 598 flights per day per way.

Ngọc said that following the Government's direction, the MoT has assigned the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) to actively evaluate and discuss with partners’ aviation authorities to resume regular international flights with gradually increasing frequency.

The process ensures safe, flexible adaptation and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating favourable conditions for travel with guidance on medical supervision on entry.

Regarding domestic transport, Ngoc said, six domestic airlines, including national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Pacific Airlines, Bamboo Airways, Vietravel Airlines and VASCO are operating 56 domestic routes, with a total frequency of 2,570 flights per week per way, which meant 367 flights per day per way.

It is a decrease of two routes and 217 flights per week per way, equivalent to 31 flights per day per way compared to the pre-pandemic schedule in 2019.

“The number of passengers travelling by air has increased significantly and even caused congestion at some airports at certain periods, such as holidays and Lunar New Year. The MoT has directed concerned authorities and airlines to promptly address the issue,” said Ngoc.

Air transport will continue to maintain and increase the frequency for domestic routes, as well as gradually reopen international routes, he said.

As for road and rail transport, Ngọc said it had basically returned in the new normal situation, but the passenger traffic has not recovered due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transport services providers have been struggling to go back to normal operation since there is a severe lack of passengers on some road routes, especially in mountainous provinces.

The MoT will come up with more measures to improve service quality and encourage passengers to use various types of road, rail and waterway transport, thereby returning to normal services, he said.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 countries and territories have so far recognised Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccine certificates, while Vietnam has accepted those of 79 countries and territories.

The 14 countries are Japan, the US, the UK, Australia, Belarus, India, Cambodia, the Philippines, Palestine, Maldives, New Zealand, Egypt, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

In accordance with the guidelines from the Ministry of Health, those entering Vietnam must submit negative COVID-19 tests (with the exception of children under two years old), and medical declarations prior to entry.

Fully vaccinated entrants, or those with recent COVID-19 recovery (within six months of the date of entry), will only need to quarantine for three days at their place of residence, homes, hotels, guest houses, offices, or dormitories, etc.

For others, the medical quarantine period is seven days./.