In a report to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Transport (MoT) has proposed restoring regular international passenger flights to and from Vietnam from December 15.

Restoring regular flights has become a pressing need as travel demand rises around the new year period and would also promote the recovery of international tourism and the country’s economy, according to the MoT.

It has proposed restoring flights in two phases on a pilot basis.

In the first phase, lasting two weeks and expected to start on December 15, regular flights between Vietnam and markets with a high Covid safety index, including  Beijin (China), Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Taipei (Taiwan - China), Bangkok (Thailand) , Singapore, Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and San Francisco or Los Angeles (USA) will be restored. These are also markets with key relations with Vietnam and a large number of Vietnamese citizens keen to travel home.

Four return flights a week on each route will take off from and land at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

The second phase is expected to begin in January. Six additional markets will be added to the pilot list: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Hong Kong (China), Paris (France), Frankfurt (Germany), Sydney (Australia), and Moscow (Russia). Da Nang International Airport, Cam Ranh International Airport, Phu Quoc International Airport, and Van Don International Airport will also cater to these flights. Seven return flights a week on each route are expected.

The MoT will evaluate the pilot to advise on the further restoration of international flights. It has suggested that distancing restrictions be lifted for passengers that are fully vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19, or test negative prior to their flight.

Any restoration of flights can only be done on the principle of “reciprocity” with other countries, on the basis of promoting negotiations on the mutual recognition of vaccine passports.

The MoT has also proposed the Prime Minister assign relevant ministries to assist it during the implementation of the pilot.