Vietnam is anxious to resume international flights, especially those between important trade and tourist partners, in hopes of restarting its stalled economy.
Vietnam is preparing to resume international flights to Guangzhou (China), Taiwan, Seoul (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan) and Laos in a bid to sustain growth, with the first flights set for early July.
“Regarding the reopening of international flights, ministries will first select some locations to open soon, such as Guangzhou, Taiwan, Seoul, Tokyo and Laos, depending on the general situation,” the government posted to its website on Thursday. However, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stated that Vietnam would be taking things slow instead of rushing.
Hanoi said it would gradually restart international flights without giving specific dates. But this should happen by the end of June or early July, making Vietnam one of the first countries in the region to resume international flights. Thailand has banned international flights until the end of June.
The first flights between tier-1 cities in Asia are expected to cater to business passengers.
The capital of Vietnam has assigned the National Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control to list overseas “safe zones”. However, the destinations must have reported no new infections of the virus for 30 straight days — a tall order for Tokyo, where 22 new cases were reported on Thursday.
Regarding the disease control situation, as of June 11, Hong Kong had 1,108 cases of COVID-19 infection and cured 1,051 cases. Taiwan had 431 cases out of a total of 443 infections. In Southeast Asia, Laos is no longer infected, Cambodia has only 1 case. With South Korea, there are still 1,017 cases, including 45 new cases. Similarly, Japan has more than 1,000 cases.
Restarting international flights is crucial for Vietnam, which hopes to shake off the effects of the pandemic to achieve its 2020 economic goals.
Demand for commercial flights in Vietnam is rising as the economy reopens. Many overseas business communities in Vietnam, including those from Japan, Korea and Europe, have urged Hanoi to ease entry restrictions for investors, managers, tech experts and other business-related travelers.
In parallel with preparations for the resumption of international flights, Vietnam is promoting individual negotiations with other countries. On May 9, 68 Japanese businesspersons flew into Vietnam. After entry, they had to take PCR tests and then quarantined for 14 days at the hotel. The Vietnamese government plans to accept several hundred more Japanese businessmen by the end of this month.
The Prime Minister agreed to the request in Thursday’s statement. Moreover, a large number of Vietnamese stranded overseas, such as students, the elderly, and tourists, are pushing the government to resume international flights.
Hanoi is also working to relax entry restrictions on a country-by-country basis as it tries to ramp up trade, tourism and investment, all of which have stalled due to the pandemic. However, the aviation experts said the country is moving cautiously in its efforts to reopen.
Recently, the government has also announced safe region and areas to gradually reopen international commercial flights with certainty as well as provided specific guidance on quarantine passengers in these flights on entry.