The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has proposed that the Ministry of Transport consider the gradual reopening of regular international commercial flights in four stages starting in the fourth quarter of this year.
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The first phase would see international commercial flights open to Vietnamese citizens with the approval of competent agencies. Simultaneously, the CAAV also proposed the reopening of pilot international flights for foreign tourists who can travel to some major tourist destinations such as Phu Quoc in southern Kien Giang province, Nha Trang and Cam Ranh in south-central Khanh Hoa province, and Ha Long Bay in northern Quang Ninh province.
Local airports are expected to receive flights from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, and others that are in need of labour transport.
For passengers, they must have received full doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and undergone a negative RT-PCR or rapid antigen test within 72 hours before their departure. Notably, they must have received their last vaccine dose at least 14 days, and no more than 12 months, prior to their departure, or have certificates of recovery from COVID-19 no more than six months prior to their departure.
Each airline will be allowed to operate one flight per day throughout the one month pilot scheme, and increase the flight frequency to two in the following month.
For the second phase that starts in January 2022, the CAAV has proposed that regular international flights can only carry passengers who have a certificate of full vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, without requiring written consent from the authorities to enter the country. This is except for immigration and medical control requirements.
These flights will apply for air routes between Vietnam and China, Hong Kong (China), Japan, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan (China), Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, and other safe markets not in the immigration restriction recommendations set out by the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
Airlines of each side will operate these flights with a frequency of four flights each week per turn.
Moving into the third phase, international commercial flights will resume regularly and passengers will no longer be subject to quarantine upon arrival, following the acceptance of vaccine passports in Vietnam.
These flights are anticipated to be operated in April 2022, depending on the progress of COVID-19 vaccination and the level of herd immunity locally.
Passengers will be both Vietnamese and foreign citizens who have been fully vaccinated or have certificates showing they have recovered from COVID-19.
As part of the last phase, airlines will be granted a permit to sell tickets on demand and confirmed slots.
Passengers will be accepted to check-in at departure destinations as they have full certificates in accordance with the requirements set out by the Vietnamese health authorities at the time of application.
In the fourth phase, these international commercial flights are expected to be fully operated in July 2022, depending on the level of herd immunity in the country.