The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has suggested increasing flight frequency between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang from next month, before flight operations return to the pre-pandemic level early next year.
In a proposal sent to the Ministry of Transport on Thursday, the CAAV said the increase would meet higher travel demand during the year-end peak season.
The aviation watchdog recommened that the number of daily flights between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang be elevated to 16 from the current six between December 1 and 14.
Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air would each operate five flights a day on the Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi - Da Nang and Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh City routes.
Vietravel Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Bamboo Airways and would operate one, two, and three flights, respectively, on these routes on a daily basis.
In the second half of December, the number of daily flights between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang would rise further to 20 per day.
The CAAV also wants to raise the frequency on other routes to nine flights a day from the current maximum of four, and to normal levels from early next year.
The Vietnamese government has allowed airlines to resume flying on all domestic routes since October 21 at reduced frequencies.
Four Vietnamese airlines operated 44 domestic routes to all 22 airports in Vietnam with a total of 2,207 return flights, carrying 446,805 passengers, with an average seat occupancy rate of 54.4 percent between then and November 18, according to the CAAV.
However, the lack of new guidelines applicable after November 30 has left the carriers passive in arranging the flight schedule for the remainder of this year and especially the Lunar New Year holiday travel season in 2022.
In addition, the frequency having been limited to almost one flight per day has frustrated passengers who wish to travel and return in one same day.
Currently, passengers need to satisfy one of three conditions, either a negative test result within 72 hours prior to departure, a certificate showing they are fully vaccinated with the second shot taken between 14 days and 12 months, or a certificate proving their recovery from COVID-19 no more than six months earlier.
However, high-risk areas like Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho require passengers to furnish a negative coronavirus test before boarding, even if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the respiratory disease.