Hanoi (VNA) – On November 8, leaders of the Ministry of Transport (MoT) proposed that the Prime Minister consider the approval of the plan to resume international flights carrying passengers from/to Vietnam.
Resumption of international flights depends on vaccine coverage
The proposal, signed by MoT Deputy Minister Le Anh Tuan, clarified that since late March 2020, due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, all international flights have only been allowed to carry passengers and cargo to other countries but only goods to Vietnam. The transportation of passengers to Vietnam will only be conducted with permission of authorised agencies.
Passengers who are Vietnamese citizens or foreigners must have document-based permission from authorised agencies and spend a quarantine period of 14 days, or seven days for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recovered from the disease.
Between April 2020 to September 2021, more than 274,200 people entered Vietnam by air. Domestic airlines operated more than 550 flights to repatriate over 140,000 Vietnamese citizens, it said.
The document noted that so far, 19 foreign airlines and one domestic airlines (Vietnam Airlines) have operated flights between Vietnam (Hanoi and HCM City) and 13 countries and territories namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong (China), Taiwan (China), Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Australia, France, the UAE and Qatar with more than 130 flights each leg per week.
In the first nine months of 2021, about 7,500 international flights carried 350,000 passengers in total from/to Vietnam. The document underlined that the reason for the suspension of international flights is COVID-19 prevention and control requirements.
Leaders of the ministry held that the resumption of regular international flights depends on Vietnam's pandemic response capacity. This includes the ratio of vaccination to reach herd immunity as well as the quarantine capacity, along with the negotiation results with countries and territories on the recognition of the "vaccine passport."
Three-phase scheme to resume regular international flights
On that basis, the MoT proposed a three-phase scheme to resume regular flights carrying passengers to Vietnam.
In the first phase, starting in the first quarter of 2022, flights will not be required to have the list of their passengers approved by authorised agencies, excluding entry-exit and health control requirements.
Initially, four flights per leg will be operated each week on air routes between Vietnam and China, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Russia, Australia and other safe countries without recommendations of travel restrictions. In this phase, Vietnam expects about 12,000 passengers per week.
Fully vaccinated passengers will spend seven days in quarantine, while those who are not vaccinated will have to quarantine for 14 days.
In the second phase, from the second quarter of 2022, international passengers flying to Vietnam on regular flights who have vaccine passports will not be required to undergo concentrated quarantine. In this phase, each airline will be allowed to operate seven flights per leg per week. Passengers who carry a "vaccine passport" will have to undertake only 3-7 days of home quarantine.
During the third phase of the scheme, regular international flights will be operated depending on the demand and developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination rate in Vietnam and the world. This phase will start in the third quarter of 2022 on the foundation of the evaluation of results from the second phase and COVID-19 prevention and control in Vietnam.
Flights carrying Vietnamese citizens who pay the quarantine fee themselves will be directed following the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, pilot flights for international tourists will be implemented in line with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's decision./.
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