Vietnamese low-cost carrier Vietjet Air will resume operations of three international routes to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in September, according to a proposal by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
The Vietnamese government on Tuesday decided to reopen commercial air routes to six international destinations — Guangzhou (mainland China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Taipei (Taiwan), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and Vientiane (Laos) — from September, after a nearly six-month suspension of commercial international flights.
In a proposal submitted to the Ministry of Transport, the CAAV sought to allow Vietjet to operate one flight weekly from Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo in the initial period after reopening these routes.
The Ho Chi Minh City-Tokyo flights operated by Vietjet are planned to take off every Tuesday using Airbus A321neo ACF jets, which have the capacity for 240 passengers.
Those arriving in Tokyo on these flights must have a negative result from an RT-PCR (realtime polymerase chain reaction) coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before takeoff and are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine after entering Japan.
Vietjet is also proposed to operate flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Seoul at the frequency of one flight per week on Wednesdays using the A321neo ACF.
Passengers arriving in South Korea’s capital must wear face masks, have a body temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees Celsius, practice self-quarantine at home or an authority-designated facility, and install a tracking app on their mobile device for monitoring.
From September 29, the budget airline will resume its Hanoi-Taipei service at one flight weekly, according to the CAAV proposal.
Those arriving in Taipei on such flights are only required to self-quarantine for five days after landing.
All three destinations are held in high regard for their successful control of the local COVID-19 outbreaks to date, with documented daily new cases in recent weeks among the lowest globally.
Vietjet said the highest level of epidemic prevention procedures will be applied on the three routes, meeting the safety standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) to ensure the health of passengers, crew members, and the community.
Aviation experts said the reopening of commercial international routes will be a launchpad for the post-pandemic recovery of Vietnamese airlines, including Vietjet.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vietnam in January, the Northeast Asian market made up the largest share of Vietjet’s total revenue from its international services.
The Vietnamese carrier said it has also made preparations to resume flying to other international destinations where the pandemic is under control such as Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong (China) as soon as it receives approval from the Vietnamese government and authorities.
Vietnam began barring entry to foreign nationals on March 22 and suspended commercial international flights from March 25 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Since then, charter flights to the country have only been arranged to bring in experts, skilled workers, and diplomats, and to repatriate Vietnamese citizens stranded in other nations and territories due to the pandemic.
Vietnam has documented 1,068 COVID-19 cases, with 941 having recovered and 35 deaths as of Saturday morning, according to Ministry of Health statistics.
The country has gone for 16 days without recording a community-based transmission.