Vietnamese carriers bank on lift from Tet holiday

Beleaguered Vietnamese carriers are looking to the next Tet, or Lunar New Year holiday, to pump up revenues after months of suffering Covid-19 impacts.

Vietnam, airlines, Tet, holiday, Lunar New Year 2021

All five carriers have begun accepting bookings for Tet 2021, the country’s largest annual holiday, which falls in the second and third week of next February. On offer are a total of five million tickets, up 10 percent year-on-year.

Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiaries Pacific Airlines and Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) are offering two million tickets, while Vietjet and Bamboo Airways each have 1.5 million.

Ticketing agencies have already begun recording bookings for the holiday, even though it is still five months away. Salespeople say the most popular routes are between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and between Ho Chi Minh City and the northern Hai Phong City and the central Nghe An Province. Vietnamese people in big cities typically travel back to their hometowns during Tet.

Airfares for a return ticket between Hanoi and HCMC during the first two weekends of February cost VND6-7 million ($260-302).

Airlines are also offering promotions from several hundred thousand dong (VND100,000 = $4.31) for a return ticket in mid-January. They will offer refunds if flights are canceled by authorities over Covid-19 situations.

Industry insiders express confidence that the next holiday will boost revenues of the aviation industry, which has been crippled this year by travel restrictions.

Bui Doan Ne, general secretary of the Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA), said that as Vietnam has been able to contain the second wave of Covid-19 outbreak, domestic travel will become vibrant again next month.

With six international routes planned to be resumed this month, the financial situation of local airlines should improve soon, and a large number of passengers are expected to travel during Tet 2021, he added.

Lai Xuan Thanh, chairman of the Airports Corporation of Vietnam that manages 22 airports, said the aviation industry in Vietnam seems to be better off than many others in the world, and local airlines could survive the pandemic if their revenues surge during the next holiday.

Airlines are also making plans to expand their fleet for post-pandemic scenarios. Vietnam Airlines plans to purchase 50 narrow-body aircraft, assessing that now would be a good time to negotiate with aircraft manufacturers amid the mass cancellations of orders globally.

The CEO of budget carrier Vietjet, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, also said the airline will purchase more aircraft but did not reveal specifics.

Vietnamese authorities plan to reopen four regular routes to mainland China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan starting September 15 and to Cambodia and Laos starting September 22, Minister and Chairman of the Office of the Government Mai Tien Dung said Friday.

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