May 13, 2020 / 9:37 AM / 22 days ago

Vietnam to stop considering new airlines establishment due to COVID-19

HANOI, May 13 (Reuters) - Vietnam will not consider applications for new airlines as it looks to prioritise the recovery of its aviation sector after the impact of the novel coronavirus, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) said on Wednesday.

Vietnam’s aviation market has seen double-digit annual growth over the past decade but due to the pandemic, the number of arrivals this year is expected to fall by 43% on the year, according to a transport ministry report in April.

“The government now has to focus on resuming domestic and international routes and supporting existing airlines, which have been hit hard by the outbreak,” the CAAV said in a statement.

“The establishment of new airline will resume when the pandemic passes.”

Vietnam suspended all international and most domestic flights in March and April in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 288 people in the country

Domestic flights have resumed since April 22, after the government lifted a lockdown order, while international flights are expected to partially resume from June 1.

Two airlines are awaiting permits, Kite Air of hospitality group Thien Minh and Vietravel Airlines of tourism firm Vietravel.

There are five commercial airlines in operation in Vietnam: Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO) and Bamboo Airways. (Reporting by Phuong Nguyen Editing by Robert Birsel)

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