According to Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier has operated 12 flights bringing Vietnamese citizens home from the US since May 2020 as a result of travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A plane of Vietnam Airlines (Photo: VNA)No more of such flights from the US have been available since last August as the quota set by US authorities has been reached, despite the tremendous demand from Vietnamese people in the US wishing to return home. For this reason, Vietnam Airlines plans to seek permission for repatriation flights in the form of regular commercial flights.
Given the latest forecast that it will take until at least 2023 for the aviation industry to recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2019, Vietnam Airlines hopes the move will help it increase revenue and lessen financial loss caused by the COVID-19.
The plan will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the carrier will conduct flights in the form of regular commercial services, serving the repatriation of Vietnamese people in the US, and travel demand between the two countries among diplomats, officials, experts, businesspeople, students and relatives of foreigners.
Based on evaluation of the recovery of air travel between the two countries after the pandemic is under control, Vietnam Airlines will continue with its plan on the second phase which is for commercial purpose. The second phase is expected to start in 2022.
In 2019, Vietnam received a Category 1 aviation safety rating from the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which allows Vietnamese carriers to establish direct services to the US.