The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is planning to reopen international air routes in four stages, with the first phase to be implemented in the last quarter of 2021 should its proposal get approved.
The CAAV proposes restarting regular international flights with combo services for Vietnamese citizens and piloting flights bringing international tourists to some localities such as Phu Quoc, Khanh Hoa, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Ninh in the first phase, lasting the remaining months of this year.
The destinations for those regular international flights include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, and other markets in need for worker transport, while pilot tourist flights should not be subject to any restrictions.
The flight frequency is decided in accordance with the quarantine capacity of the localities where the flights will land -- namely Quang Ninh, Khanh Hoa, and Da Nang.
The tourist flights are applicable to foreigners who test negative for the coronavirus or meet the new safety guidance of the Ministry of Health, and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In the second phase starting January 2022, the CAAV proposes piloting regular flights that only carry passengers with a full vaccination certificate or confirming to have recovered from COVID-19, without a written request allowing them to enter Vietnam from relevant authorities.
The markets for those flights will expand to China, Hong Kong, Laos, Cambodia, and the UK, apart from the countries and territories in the first phase.
The initial frequency will be four flights per week per direction for each side.
Receiving airports are Noi Bai, Van Don, Da Nang, Cam Ranh, Tan Son Nhat, Can Tho, and Phu Quoc.
Passengers just need to meet one of the following requirements -- proving their successful payment for the facility where they will be quarantined in Vietnam, a certificate of full vaccination, or proof of recovery from COVID-19 issued no longer than six months before their departure.
In the third phase expected to take place from April 2022, regular flights to Vietnam will be deployed with post-entry quarantine not required when the government officially applies the ‘vaccine passport’ mechanism.
Permitted passengers in this period are Vietnamese and foreign citizens with a certificate of receiving two vaccine doses or confirming recovery from COVID-19.
The initial frequency will be seven flights per week per way for each airline.
The final stage of operating regular international flights on demand is expected to be carried out from July 2022 with unlimited frequency, depending on the requirements of Vietnamese health authorities at that time.
Vietnam closed its borders and canceled all international flights in March last year.
Only Vietnamese repatriates, foreign experts, diplomats, investors, highly-skilled workers, and students have been allowed since with stringent quarantine requirements in place.
The country has found 946,043 infections since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit it early last year and 941,159 community transmissions in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave broke out.
More than 26 million people of the 98 million population in the Southeast Asian country have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus.
The central government has relaxed pandemic control curbs over the past few weeks as transmissions have slowed down, due partly to larger vaccine coverage.
However, the number of infections has appeared to rebound in several locales in recent days.