Air carriers have temporarily suspended international flights to Vietnam to wait for specific instructions on quarantine standards.
Deputy Director of Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) Vo Huy Cuong said that after two flights of Vietnam Airlines from South Korea to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on September 25 and a flight of Vietjet Air on September 30, local airlines have suspended regular flights that take passengers from other countries to Vietnam. The reason, according to Cuong, is the lack of common standards on managing and isolating tourists from other countries to Vietnam.
For foreigners entering Vietnam, the rules are clear: having negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 virus, having a visa, and having been certified by the hotel where they are under quarantine.
However, for Vietnamese citizens returning from abroad, there are some problems in management and isolation. The Ministry of Health is working on instruction documents to guide the unified implementation in all provinces and cities in the country.
"There should be guidance for localities to uniformly implement the quarantine process," Cuong said.
Ministry of Transport consults Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
The Ministry of Transport has consulted the People's Committees of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on the schedule of regular international commercial flights. Based on the two cities’ opinions, the CAAV will consider and grant flight permits for airlines in the near future.
Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan said Vietnam Airlines will still operate the Guangzhou (China) - Ho Chi Minh City air route every Friday.
The Japan-Vietnam route are operated by Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air with the frequency of two flights per week, the Hanoi, HCM City - Seoul (South Korea) routes with 2 flights a week, and Hanoi, HCMC - Taipei (Taiwan) route with two flights per week.
The air routes from Vietnam to Cambodia and Laos with a frequency of 1 flight per week are operated by Vietnam Airlines.
Accordingly, there will be four weekly flights landing in Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (with a maximum of 1,304 seats) and five flights to land in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday (2 flights), Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (maximum 1,290 seats) on Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air.
On September 11, the CAAV sent official letters to the aviation authorities of China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan (China) announcing the plan to reopen the passenger flights between Vietnam and these partners.
The partners all agreed with the plan offered by Vietnam. So far, the Korean side has had a specific plan and the remaining partners have only announced an initial plan.
For South Korea, Korean Air operated flights on October 9 from Incheon to/from Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa; Asiana Airlines operated flights from Incheon to/from Hanoi on October 7 and October 21, to/from HCMC on October 1 and October 15.
China appointed China Southern Airlines (CZ) to operate the Guangzhou - Ho Chi Minh route with a frequency of 1 flight per week.
Japan appointed Japan Airlines (JL) and All Nippon Airways (NH) to operate alternately the air routes from Tokyo to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on a weekly basis with a frequency of 1 flight per week per route.
Taiwan (China) appointed China Airlines (CI) and Eva Air (BR) to operate flights from Taipei to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on a weekly basis, with a frequency of 1 flight per week per route.
The subject of entry and the requirements for passengers in the prevention and control of Covid-19 are prescribed in Notice No. 330/TB-VPCP dated September 15 by Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Check-in procedures at foreign airports for passengers on flights to Vietnam are performed only when passengers meet the following requirements:
For Vietnamese citizens: passengers must hold a valid passport, have a specific place of stay in Vietnam during the period of quarantine (at the accommodation listed by Hanoi and HCM City authorities) and a certificate of negative test for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time PCR method issued by the host country.
For foreigners: passengers must hold passports or papers valid for international travel (recognized by Vietnam) and valid visa or temporary residence card or written reply to visa application at the international border gate with still valid date for entry, with a specific place of stay in Vietnam and a certificate of negative test for SARS-CoV-2, using the real-time PCR method, issued by the host country.
The Ministry of Transport and the CAAV require airlines to send the airport authority a list of passengers expected to make a flight 12 hours prior to departure time according to flight permits and a detailed list of passengers 30 minutes before departure.
Airport authorities are responsible for receiving and transmitting passenger information on incoming international flights to medical quarantine, immigration and relevant agencies at airports.
The Ministry of Transport plans to open an additional nine international flights landing at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport and HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport.
Vietnam should not look forward to receiving foreign travelers soon after it reopens international air routes, but it needs to prepare well to get them back.