By Taylor Rains
Vietnam Airlines resumes international flights on July 15
As it is on the verge of bankruptcy, Vietnam Airlines is resuming commercial flights to some international destinations this week. Starting July 15, the carrier will relaunch operations to Asia, Australia and Europe in response to demand from Vietnamese citizens who want to study and work abroad and expert foreigners employed in the country. Routes include service to Sydney and Melbourne in Australia; Frankfurt and London in Europe and Tokyo and Bangkok in Asia.
Vietnam Airlines plans to relaunch flights this week for Vietnamese nationals and expert foreigners authorized to enter the country. The increased demand combined with the easing of border restrictions and the threat of airline bankruptcy have motivated VNA to return to international destinations.
Flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Sydney will fly from July 15 to October. 30. Outbound flights operate on Thursdays and Sundays and return on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Services Ho Chi Minh City to Melbourne operates from July 20 to October 30 with outbound flights on Tuesdays and return flights on Thursdays
Meanwhile, the Hanoi / Frankfurt route has three scheduled flights. The full round trip will take place on July 25, July 28, and August 21. Services between Hanoi to London will fly on August 13 and September 2 and return the next day. Flights between Hanoi and Tokyo will operate from July 17 to October 30 every Wednesday and Saturday.
Ho Chi Minh City to Tokyo services fly from August 1 to October 30 every Thursday. Meanwhile, the flights ofHo Chi Minh City in Bangkok operates from August 1 to October 30 every Wednesday.
Only five flights in total will be operated to Frankfurt and London, likely to bring citizens back to work and school abroad. However, if the demand for recreation in these and other cities in Europe increases, Vietnam Airlines will likely add more dates or implement seasonal routes.
The carrier will use its modern widebody Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft for its international passenger flights. The aircraft can carry a large capacity of passengers and cargo, which will help the company to increase its revenues and optimize its resources.
When the pandemic struck, Vietnam Airlines launched its very first cargo flights solely to carry medical supplies and personal protective equipment related to COVID to several Asian countries. This has bolstered the carrier’s freight operations, which it has relied on since March 2020 to stay afloat. Now, with the return to service of commercial flights, the company will need to strategically balance passenger and cargo revenues to generate a profit.
While the pandemic has left only 123 dead in Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines has always been forced to suspend its international operations in response to the strict border closures. As a result, the airline’s flight schedule fell nearly 50% in 2020. Last year, the government sent a lifeline of VND 12 trillion ($ 519 million) to maintain the economy. profitability of the cash-strapped airline, but it is still operating at a loss, mainly due to a devastating third wave of Covid-19. In the first half of 2021 alone, the carrier lost 10,000 billion VND ($ 435 million) and debts stand at 6.24 billion VND ($ 272 million). In a report on Vietnam’s trade development, the country’s Ministry of Planning and Investment warned that the airline was threatened with bankruptcy, calling the situation “extremely dire”.
Due to its debts, the carrier faces legal action and the banks refuse to extend its credit, painting a grim picture for the future of Vietnam Airlines. The decision to restart international flights was likely motivated by the threat of collapse combined with increased demand and easing border restrictions. Not to mention the widespread vaccinations against Covid in Europe and Australia which have opened up more tourism opportunities. Hopefully this increase in international operations will put Vietnam Airlines on the road to recovery.