The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has launched a draft three-phase plan to resume local flight routes after two weeks of ticket sale suspension amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
In the draft plan, which has been submitted to the Ministry of Transport for consideration, the CAAV says it will allow airlines to proactively prepare flight schedules, sell tickets, and carry out other operations.
This plan also eliminates the classification of airports into three groups based on the level of social distancing in each locality, as previously proposed by the CAAV.
The agency requires that all airline staff receive at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and that all crew members and passengers test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their flights.
During phase 1, which will be applied for two weeks after the plan is issued, passengers allowed to take flights include officers performing public duties, people serving the fight against COVID-19, and those who have got approval from local authorities to travel.
Also allowed in this phase are passengers who have certificates of quarantine completion and are transported by specialized vehicles from their isolation facilities to airports, and those obtaining certificates of full COVID-19 vaccination with the second shot given at least 14 days but no more than 12 months before their flight dates.
Other qualified passengers include those who have certificates of recovery from COVID-19 issued no more than 12 months before their flights.
Eligible passengers in phase 2 are the same as those in phase 1, except the requirement that certificates of recovery from COVID-19 must be issued no longer than six months, instead of 12 months, before their travel.
In addition, this phase includes one more type of qualified passengers: those who have certificates of living for at least 14 days in areas exempt from social distancing measures under the prime minister’s Directive No. 16 before taking flights.
Phase 3 will take place as a continuity of phase 2 but no longer apply the limits to passengers, unless otherwise decided by the CAAV.
The CAAV will impose flight bans on passengers using forged documents for their services and ask police to handle such cases.
The agency also proposes that the flight frequency on each route of each airline in phases 1 and 2 should not exceed 50 and 70 percent of the frequency recorded by that firm in the first week of April 2021, respectively.
In phase 3, the corresponding frequency proposed is 100 percent, and airlines will be permitted to operate at their desired frequencies when all provinces and cities are no longer subject to social distancing measures under Directive No. 16, the CAAV said.
On August 30, the CAAV asked carriers to suspend ticket sales for domestic flights and refund passengers for tickets issued prior to July 21, given the complicated situation of COVID-19 in Vietnam.
Except Cao Bang, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread to 62 out of the country’s 63 cities and provinces, with 635,055 infections recorded since early 2020, the Ministry of Health reported on Tuesday evening.
The overall figure includes 398,461 recoveries and 15,936 deaths, which is 2.5 percent of the total patient number, or 0.4 percentage points higher than the global mortality rate.
Ho Chi Minh City has been the most affected with 310,322 infections and 12,287 fatalities.