Rescue flights are mostly chartered flights of Vietnam’s air carriers and are organized by state agencies.
Such flights are recommended only for those with special conditions (expired visas, no job, no permanent residence, financial or health problems, or other legitimate reasons) as shown on the official website of the Vietnamese Embassy in the US.
Some airlines maintain routine flights to Vietnam but only carry cargo and a few special passengers to Vietnam who are specialists and managers with foreign nationality and their relatives (all of them must get approval from Vietnamese agencies).
There are also departure flights from Vietnam which allow Vietnamese youth to begin the new academic year overseas on schedule.
But flights to Vietnam are restricted. Since the pandemic, many countries have closed their borders, fully or partially, to various countries and territories. But their citizens and the people who had approval to study and work in these countries had the right to return and enter their home countries.
The strict policies applied to returnees in Vietnam make returning very costly.
The official websites of the Vietnamese Embassy in France and Germany show that passengers have to pay VND66 million, or 2,510 Euros, to return on Vietnam Airlines’ VN5036 flight (one way) from Frankfurt and Paris to Van Don airport on December 15, and passengers then have a 7-day quarantine at Novotel Ha Long Hotel.
For Vietnamese who live in other European countries, the cost is higher, because they must pay to fly from their residences to a Paris or Frankfurt airport and for accommodations while waiting for the flight, and also pay for the return to Europe. The additional cost is about 1,200-1,500 Euros.
As such, the total cost for a year-end return to homeland is about 4,000 Euros, beyond the payment capability of overseas Vietnamese for one trip home.
The cost is unreasonable, if noting that a normal return ticket from Europe to Southeast Asia is 1,000 Euros only, and 4-5-star hotel room rates in HaLong quoted on booking.com are between VND8 million and VND12 million, including breakfast.
Vietnam needs to allow international airlines to receive fully vaccinated Vietnamese passengers who want to fly to Noi Bai or Tan Son Nhat airports, ask them to show testing results and permit accommodation facilities to provide services to passengers.
Vietnam should allow returnees to have home quarantine under conditions applied to other Vietnamese residents.
Pham Quang Vinh
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has ordered relevant agencies to take prompt action to meet foreigners and overseas Vietnamese (OV)’s demand for coming to Vietnam.
While aircraft are lying idle, Vietnamese in many countries have had to spend huge amounts of money to return to Vietnam.