The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV)’s edict that Vietjet will be unable to add any extra flights to its current offerings during the upcoming Lunar New Year is prompting serious concerns over the looming air ticket scarcity sure to befall the country during its most anticipated holiday.
Low-cost Vietnamese carrier Vietjet’s tight supervision by CAAV and the restriction placed over its flight offerings come in the wake of several incidents involving the airline’s planes earlier this week.
The news has worried air travelers, when the Lunar New Year, or Tet, is only a little more than a month away.
“I intended to fly Vietjet on Tet but the news that it won’t be adding extra flights means I may not be able to buy a ticket,” said Dang Thi Thanh Mai, a resident in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Binh District.
According to data released by CAAV, Vietnam’s air carriers are hoping to offer nearly 5,800 extra flights - equivalent to 1.2 million seats - during the upcoming Tet holiday in early February.
More than 2,000 of the proposed flight additions were submitted by Vietnam Airlines, 99 percent of which were to domestic destinations. Meanwhile, 3,500 of the proposed additions were submitted by Vietjet, 77 percent of which were for inbound services.
However, it is likely CAAV will approve far fewer than the proposed flights, particularly as it hopes to tighten restrictions on Vietjet in the wake of several incidents involving the carrier in a two-day period.
On Tuesday, a Vietjet flight landed on the wrong runway at Cam Ranh airport in south-central Vietnam, just one day after another Vietjet flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Taiwan due to technical warnings.
CAAV assigned several officials to closely monitor Vietjet and announced tighter restrictions on any new flights for the airline that same day.
The next day, however, a Da Nang-bound flight of Vietjet was denied take-off from Hanoi for technical issues.
Currently, CAAV has yet to decide on how many additional flights of Vietjet will be cut down.
Meanwhile, an aviation expert reassured air travelers that other airlines are totally capable of covering Vietjet’s vacancy if the low-cost carrier’s proposed extra flights are actually rejected.
Speaking on the issue, a Vietjet official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday afternoon that the airline’s schedule and ticket sales are operating as normal.
“The airline will hold discussions with aviation authorities about plans for additional flights,” the Vietjet leader said.