06/04/2020 16:55 GMT+7 print

Vietravel Airlines delays plan for first flights due to COVID-19

Vietnam’s newest carrier Vietravel Airlines has delayed its plan to launch first flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline was given principle approval from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to start operations in October, but the plans have been put on hold.

Founded by one of the country’s largest tour operators Vietravel, the airline is scheduled to start commercial operations in the third quarter of this year with a fleet of three airplanes, which could be raised to eight by 2025.

The airline plans to provide charter flights for its own tourists and general passengers, targeting the one million tourists Vietravel serves annually. It will be headquartered in central Thua Thien-Hue province’s Phu Bai International Airport.

Up to now, the company had yet to set up a specific date for the airline to take off, a company representative said.

Currently, Vietnam has five operational airlines. They are national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, budget carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines (with a majority owned by Vietnam Airlines), Vietjet Air, Vietnam Air Services (VASCO) and Bamboo Airways. Two others - Kite Air and Vietstar Air are waiting for operational authorisation.

Vietnamese airlines are among many others around the world suffering heavy losses caused by COVID-19. According to the estimations of Vietnamese airlines, the transport ministry said that the initial damage due to stopping flights is about 30 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD).

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam has recently issued two scenarios. The first one is that if the disease is controlled before April, the total number of passengers reaches 67 million, down 15 percent compared to 2019.

The second one, in case the market worsens, and the pandemic is controlled in the second quarter, the total market reaches 61.2 million passengers, down 22.6 percent year-on-year./.
VNA/VNP