Vietnam’s air transport sector expects a full recovery in passenger traffic by the end of the year, though it warns of continued challenges including a tepid return of demand from Mainland China travellers. 

In a 9 February statement, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is forecasting passenger numbers to be around 80 million this year, about the same as 2019 volumes. 

Vietjet A321

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

Passengers board a Vietjet A321 in Da Nang in January 2023

The authority notes that domestic passenger traffic in 2022 has already fully recovered to pre-pandemic 2019 levels, and is expected to significantly exceed it this year. 

It is forecasting more than 45 million domestic passengers this year, a 22% jump against 2019, and 5% higher than 2022. 

As for international traffic, the CAAV acknowledges that recovery will be far slower: it expects about 34 million passengers in 2023, a three-fold increase year on year, but still falling short of a full recovery at 84% of 2019 passenger volumes. 

The CAAV notes that “major challenges” still remain, including “limited” airport infrastructure, fluctuating fuel prices, as well as a shortage of manpower. 

It also flags that China-Vietnam travel has been slow to pick up, despite Beijing eliminating most of its ‘zero-Covid’ restrictions early in the year.