Vietnam Airlines plans to resume five more routes connecting Vietnam and neighboring China in the next two months, taking the total number of its operating air routes between the two countries to nine out of the ten routes in the pre-pandemic period.
In particular, the national flag carrier will restore air services between Hanoi and Beijing in March with three flights per week.
It will also increase the frequency of flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Guangzhou and Shanghai to four from one or two flights per week.
In addition, four air routes between Da Nang and Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Chengdu, and between Hanoi and Chengdu are scheduled for resumption in April with two weekly flights on each route.
The airline plans to use wide-body A350 and B787 aircraft on some air routes to the northern neighbor starting in September this year.
Besides Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air is operating air services between Ho Chi Minh City and Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Sichuan, and Wuhan with six flights per week.
The budget air carrier reopened air services from Canh Ranh City under Khanh Hoa Province in south-central Vietnam to Changsha and Chengdu.
Vietjet will operate a total of 85 air routes this summer.
The reopening and increase of air routes to China are aimed at meeting travel and tourism demand between the two countries, which is forecast to recover.
A Vietnam Airlines representative said the number of passengers on air routes between Vietnam and China remains small but it is increasing.
In an optimistic scenario, China will continue easing procedures and the number of passengers on these air routes this year is expected to reach 80 percent of the figure in 2019.
After reopening its doors to international travelers in March last year, Vietnam’s domestic tourism has recovered strongly. However, its international tourism segment, which earlier accounted for 60 percent of the country’s tourism revenue, has yet to recover as expected.
Nevertheless, Vietnam has good reasons to hope for stronger recovery, especially after China reopened its doors on January 8.
Vietnam will see a recovery of the number of Chinese visitors by 50-80 percent in 2023 compared to the pre-pandemic volume, or three to 4.5 million Chinese tourists, HSBC experts forecast.
In 2019, Vietnam Airlines served 8.1 million passengers on Vietnam-China air routes, or 19 percent of the airline’s total passengers.
China was among the air carrier’s top three markets with the highest number of passengers.
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