Vietnam’s first commercial flight lands in Hanoi since border closure hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: Vietnam Airlines)
Hanoi (VNA) - Operated by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, a return commercial flight from Seoul, the Republic of Korea (RoK), landed at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on September 25 noon, marking a milestone in the restoration of the country’s air transport after months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using the long-range wide-body airliner Airbus A350, flight No VN417 took off from Incheon International Airport in the RoK, bringing back about 100 passengers, mostly returning Vietnamese and Korean investors and experts.

Earlier in the morning, the outbound flight carried 164 passengers from Hanoi to Seoul.

The RoK is among the six destinations in Asia with which the Vietnamese Government has decided to resume international flights since the country sealed off its borders on March 22, in addition to Japan, China, Taiwan (China), Laos and Cambodia, which have the COVID-19 situation under control.

Vo Huy Cuong, Deputy Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), said the flight is a “trial” to see the air transport sector’s operation and capacity in receiving international passengers.

This marks a milestone in Vietnam’s air link resumption, as part of the Government’s dual goals of developing the economy while safely managing the risks of COVID-19 in the new normal.

The resumption of flights received a warm welcome from Vietnamese citizens in the RoK as well as Korean people, particularly business people and investors.

The flight is operated under strict health protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and its success highlights the effective coordination between the airline, the airport, and health agencies.

Before boarding, passengers must obtain proof of negative SARS-CoV-2 tests (using PCR diagnostics) from certified health authorities three days prior to departure, confirmation of quarantine accommodation in Vietnam, and mandatory installation of Vietnam’s contact tracing app Bluezone and self-completing health status app Vietnam Health Declaration on their mobile devices.

After the flight, the passengers will be tested for COVID-19 in Vietnam. If the results return positive, they will be transported to a local health facility to be isolated and treated. If the results come back negative, they could continue to quarantine in registered hotels or other accommodations and they would be tested again on the sixth day after entry or when suspect symptoms manifest.

With a negative result on their second test, they would be allowed to travel to their residence to self-isolate to complete the 14-day quarantine and follow the anti-pandemic measures.

The aircrew underwent health examination and would also be quarantined for 14 days.

The aircraft’s passenger sections and cockpit will be sterilised.

Vietnam Airlines is working to resume international flights in line with the Government’s directions and approval from foreign authorities.

Meanwhile, the Korean Government announced on September 24 that air routes between Incheon and Vietnam’s Hanoi and HCM City will be reopened this month, with two flights a week./.