Many airlines in Vietnam have drastically cut down airfares, even to only US$0.26 per ticket, to lure passengers back as travel demand has plummeted due to the escalating coronavirus spread.
Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines, and Bamboo Airways have recently offered thousands of super cheap air tickets for many domestic flights for the boarding period from late May to June 30.
Accordingly, the national carrier will operate short-distance flights at only VND39,000 ($1.7) per ticket, such as those from Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc, Da Lat or Nha Trang from now until June 16.
During the same period, the firm will apply a low fare of VND99,000 ($4.3) per ticket for long services from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi or Thanh Hoa Province.
Pacific Airlines has also provided domestic flights at only VND9,000 ($0.4) per ticket, while Bamboo Airways will launch flights on 60 domestic routes at just VND6,000 ($0.26) per seat.
After taxes and fees, passengers will have to pay around VND720,000 ($31) per ticket.
"It's quite cheaper than normal as prices are usually around VND2 million [$87] per flight leg to tourist destinations in the previous summers," an air ticket agent said.
However, the recent spread of the coronavirus has put a chill on travel despite the efforts of many airlines to attract passengers, with many flights seeing passenger volumes down by 60 percent from previous figures.
During the past three weeks, the flight numbers at many airports have reduced dramatically, even to zero in some localities such as Buon Ma Thuot, Rach Gia and Ca Mau, said Tran Doan Mau, director of the Southern Airports Authority.
At Tan Son Nhat and Noi Bai International Airports, daily flight numbers declined to 120 and 150 from 720 and 540, respectively, in the period before April 30, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) reported.
From May 21 to 27, the total number of flights at 21 airports under the ACV management ranged between 463 and 518 per day, which is less than the single-day performance at Tan Son Nhat in its busy time before April 30, it said.
Meanwhile, many localities, including Binh Thuan, have temporarily stopped receiving visitors coming from places with complicated epidemic developments, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang, Bac Giang, and Bac Ninh.
Many travel companies in Ho Chi Minh City, where citywide social distancing will remain in place for two weeks starting Monday, have negotiated with their clients to postpone June and July tours until August.
A representative of TST Tourist said that all its tours expected for May have been canceled or delayed and all those booked for June and July have been put off.
“Given increasing COVID-19 infections, we think that the tourism market may not see a recovery at least until August,” the representative said.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 68 new coronavirus infections at noon on Monday, all of which were domestic cases.
Vietnam has logged 7,236 coronavirus patients, including 47 deaths, since the pandemic hit the country in early 2020, the ministry reported.