September 13, 2021 | 18:39 GMT+7

Aviation abandons “Zero Covid” strategy and plans to live with pandemic

Tra My - Anh Tú -

Carriers now looking at measures to get industry back in shape amid ongoing pandemic.

Photo: Illustration
Photo: Illustration

With reaching “Zero Covid”, where Covid-19 cases are fully eliminated, being all but impossible, domestic airlines are planning to live with the pandemic to avoid a cost burden that may push them to the brink of bankruptcy.

Both international and domestic routes have been completely “frozen” but the short-term liabilities for the three major aviation giants in the country continued to grow, reaching the milestone VND40 trillion ($1.74 billion).

Facing an urgent situation, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has proposed that the Ministry of Transport approve a plan to organize 22 domestic routes and divide airports into three groups: green, yellow, red, with regulations on operations and passengers.

Commenting on the plan, however, aviation expert Mr. Nguyen Thien Tong told VnEconomy that the zoning is confusing and complicated. He pointed to inadequacies regarding the regulation of passengers’ medical condition as well as the pandemic situation at the place of departure.

Experts from the Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) have proposed that the government implement a pilot “Vietnam Green Travel Pass” program instead of a “vaccine passport”, because this pass is also needed for domestic travel, not just for arriving in and leaving the country. The plan is expected to help resume business activities and travel.

Vietnam Airlines has successfully tested the IATA Travel Pass, an electronic health passport application, on some of its flights, while Vietjet Air also participated in the trial. The national flag carrier will also continue to conduct international test flights in September, in the hope that positive results would be a basis for the government to recognize the electronic health passport mechanism, thus speeding up the resumption of international routes.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has issued a plan to stimulate demand and restore tourism activities at the end of 2021 and early 2022. This is good news for the travel, tourism, airline, and hotel business community in all localities around the country, helping them soon escape the impact of Covid-19.