Domestic flights resume with increased airport safety measures

The travel industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19, since most people have been advised to avoid non-essential trips to curtail the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. This is no exception for Vietnam, where during the social distancing period from 1st April to 23th April, only those with permits could fly.

After nationwide social distancing ended, more businesses, including the aviation sector, have resumed business activities. This means that domestic flights within Vietnam are gradually resuming operations.

More domestic flights within Vietnam to resume

vietnam airlines plane taking off
Image credit: @vietnamairlines

Most airline companies such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Air have scheduled more domestic flights in upcoming months, as travel demands pick up as the Labor Day holiday nears.

Even though the outbreak is under control, travelling by air is still a concern for many Vietnamese due to fear of community transmission. As a result, safety measures are being ramped up at airports to protect passengers and airline staff.

Demand for travel increases after relaxation of social distancing

noi bai airport at night
Image credit: @noibai.airport

According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Health (MOH), Noi Bai Airport recorded 88 flights on 23th April, the day the social distancing rules were lifted, up 18 flights on average compared to the days before.

On 24th April, the total number of flights went up to 109 flights, 58 out of which were domestic flights.

During the social distancing period when nationwide travelling was mostly banned, Noi Bai Airport underwent major renovations and maintenance of infrastructure and operation equipment. Different areas in the airport such as the terminals, airport buses, and information desks were disinfected regularly.

Preventive measures stepped up at the airport

New preventive measures to avoid risks of community transmission of COVID-19 in Noi Bai airport have been ramped up.

You’ll see warning decals asking everyone to keep a safe distance of at least 2m put up at all queues in Noi Bai airport, such as at the check-in and security screening counters, and boarding gates.

noi bai airport passenger registration area
Image credit: Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

Passengers are also not allowed to sit in the middle seat of each 3-seat bench in waiting rooms. In addition, free face masks are distributed at 3 counters – 2 in Hall C of Terminal 1, and 1 in Hall A of Terminal 2 – for those who need them.

free face masks at noi bai airport
Noi Bai airport provides free face masks
Image credit: VGP News

To ensure that everyone adheres to the rules, the airport has assigned groups of ground service staff to stand at every entrance to monitor and enforce them.

Safety regulations on airplanes

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), all carriers are required to equip their planes with hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol, disinfect their aircrafts thoroughly on landing, make sure air crews and passengers wear masks during the flights, and keep a 1-metre gap between seated passsengers or have one vacant seat placed between individual passengers.

passengers on vietnamese plane with attendant in ppe
Image credit: Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV)

Before boarding, passengers must make health declarations, take their temperatures, and disinfect their hands. When onboard, passengers are to avoid talking and eating.

Restriction of flight schedules

According to the CAAV, the flight schedules of carriers will be as follows:

From 1st May to 15th May 2020:

  • Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh air route and vice versa: maximum of 36 round flights per day
  • Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh – Danang air route and vice versa: maximum of 12 round flights per day
  • Other air routes: depending on each airline’s flight schedule

From 16th May 2020:

  • Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh air route and vice versa: maximum of 52 round flights per day
  • Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh – Danang air route and vice versa: maximum of 20 round flights per day
  • Other air routes: depending on each airline’s flight schedule

The number of flights per day will gradually increase, but will be subject to changes according to the situation.

Take precautionary measures to avoid community transmission

Safety regulations at the airport and onboard flights can bring inconvenience for passengers, but if those measures can flatten the COVID-19 curve, they’re well worth it.

In order to curb COVID-19 transmission while we resume normal activities, it is everyone’s duty to cooperate with airline staff and act according to the safety requirements of the government.

Cover image adapted from: Vietnam’s Ministry of Health

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