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Vietnam-S.Korea flights canceled as COVID-19 fear weakens demand

Monday, February 24, 2020, 18:00 GMT+7
Vietnam-S.Korea flights canceled as COVID-19 fear weakens demand
An aircraft of national carrier Vietnam Airlines. Photo: Tuan Phung / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese airlines have cut flights between Vietnam and South Korea as the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the East Asian country has sent aviation demand dwindling.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has yet to announce any official plan on halting flights between the two countries, but local carriers have begun to wind down on their South Korean services because of a plunge in demand.

According to the CAAV, four Vietnamese carriers, including Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, and Bamboo Airways, have been operating 14 routes between Vietnamese and South Korean destinations, with about 182 flights weekly in each direction.

Meanwhile, eight South Korean airlines offer services on ten routes between the two nations, with 381 flights every week in each direction.

Among them, Vietnam’s Vietjet and Korea’s T’way Air have flights between Vietnam and Daegu City, South Korea’s COVID-19 epicenter.

From February 16 to 22, Vietjet transported 1,053 passengers between Daegu and Da Nang, while T’way Air carried 894 passengers between Daegu and Hanoi, Da Nang, and Nha Trang.

Vietjet is expected to cancel all flights along the Da Nang - Daegu route from February 25 to March 28.

On other Vietnam-South Korea routes, airlines have had to abort a large number of flights from Sunday as droves of passengers canceled their bookings.

The number of Vietnam-South Korea flights from February 17 to March 28 has also been cut down by half due to low demand.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Le Anh Tuan, his agency is monitoring the situation in Daegu to determine a suitable aviation plan for the two countries.

The COVID-19 has killed 2,522 people and infected over 79,300 globally since it first hit the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, according to the South China Morning Post.

South Korea reported 161 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected patients in the country to 763, health authorities said on Monday.

Roughly half of South Korea’s COVID-19 cases are in Daegu.

Vietnam has so far confirmed 16 cases of the viral infection, including 13 Vietnamese, one Vietnamese American, and two Chinese.

Among them, 15 have fully recovered and been released from the hospital. The country has recorded no new infection since Thursday last week.

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