Vietnam’s domestic air travel market is taking tentative steps back to normality with the country’s airlines adding flights as the coronavirus pandemic ebbs.
Vietnam Airlines has started operating four to six flights daily on the key Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, with this to grow to 11 flights daily in May. The mainline carrier’s services will be supplemented by two daily services by low-cost unit Jetstar Pacific.
Low-cost rival VietJet is also operating six daily flights on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh route. In addition, both airlines will resume limited services to other cities, such as Da Nang.
The airlines announced the moves as Vietnam emerges from a countrywide lockdown owing to the coronavirus crisis. Vietnam, which reacted early to the pandemic that originated in China, has been relatively unscathed. Government statistics suggest it has suffered just 270 cases.
In all, the three carriers should operate 17 flights daily on the route in May. Cirium schedules data indicates that in May 2019 the country’s carriers operated roughly 65 daily services on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, one of the Asia-Pacific’s busiest.
Highlighting coronavirus concerns, the aircraft will be disinfected after every flight. Aircraft crews will have face masks, gloves, goggles and alcohol wipes. Passengers are required to wear masks throughout the flight.
The country’s third carrier, Bamboo Airways, has said that it still intends to grow in 2020, but to 40 aircraft instead of the 50 planned. Cirium fleets data suggests it has two aircraft in service and 22 in storage.
The airlines have said that they will await developments regarding the eventual resumption of international flights.
Cirium fleets data suggests that three carriers have 39 aircraft in service with 167 in storage. In addition, the three airlines have firm orders for 344 aircraft.