Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has approved the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam’s proposal to limit domestic flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to other cities and provinces to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Domestic airlines are allowed to transport passengers with a frequency of one flight a day on certain routes, including Hanoi to HCMC and vice versa, Hanoi to Da Nang, Hanoi to Phu Quoc and vice versa; HCMC to Da Nang, HCMC to Phu Quoc and vice versa.
The instruction, issued late on Sunday, is effective from midnight Sunday to April 15.
“In special cases when there is a need to transport passengers from local airports to Hanoi and HCMC and vice versa, airlines may ask the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam’s permission in each specific case,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the CAAV has asked Vietnamese airlines to refund, change itinerary and extend flight validity for affected passengers without collecting any extra fees.
The ministry also asked airlines to strictly adhere to the Ministry of Health’s regulations on the isolation of foreign flight crews and mandatory electronic health declarations by passengers before boarding, as well as other preventive measures.
Airlines cut flights
Following the ministry’s request, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on Monday announced it would reduce the frequency of domestic flights. It will operate one flight from Ha Noi to HCM City and vice versa, and one flight from Ha Noi and HCM City to Da Nang and Phu Quoc and vice versa to serve urgent needs.
Scheduled flights on three days (March 30, 31 and April 1) from Hanoi to HCMC will depart at 9:00 and the HCMC to Ha Noi flight will take off at 14:00. On April 1, the plane departs HCMC to Hanoi at 15:00. Flights on remaining routes will be adjusted flexibly.
On routes not listed above, planes will be grounded until further notice.
The airline will help affected passengers change flights and itineraries in accordance with the airline's regulations.
Earlier, Vietnam Airlines announced from March 28, it would cut its 35 domestic routes to eight with about 10 per cent of total seats compared to normal plans. Crew members on all of its flights will be equipped with protective gears and tested for COVID-19.
Vietnam Airlines suspended international flights until April 30.
Following Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airways has also announced it will reduce passenger transport services.
From March 28 to April 15, Bamboo Airways decided to make temporary adjustments for both regular flights and charter flights, including reducing the frequency of domestic flights and applying stringent medical standards on all flights.
The airline will suspend charter flights from abroad during the next two weeks. One-way flights departing Viet Nam (the return flight being empty) may still be considered with authorities’ permission. – VNS