Airlines await vaccine passports for resumption of international flights

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has submitted a plan on the reopening of international flights in three stages to the Ministry of Transport. – VNA Photo

HÀ NỘI — Although vaccine passports are not yet an official policy in Việt Nam, airlines are preparing for the resumption of international flights based on their introduction.

On March 25, a flight by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines from Taipei, Taiwan (China), landed at Đà Nẵng International Airport. It was a repatriation flight bringing Vietnamese citizens home, which they had to pay for, and was a step towards the reopening of international commercial flights after they were suspended due to COVID-19.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, more repatriation flights will be conducted in the future. Priority for regular commercial flights to bring stranded citizens home will be given to China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Taiwan (China), Laos, and Cambodia.

These air routes received approval for the resumption of flights last September, but implementation was delayed due to developments of the pandemic.

The gradual reopening is expected to assist the aviation sector but many problems remain, including the promulgation of laws for vaccine passports and the location and cost of quarantine centres.

Đặng Anh Tuấn, head of Vietnam Airlines’ Communications and Branding Department, believes vaccine passports may be rolled out swiftly in the country, as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had sent a letter to former Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on the issue, which the former Government leader then passed on to agencies to consider.

The former PM has also called for accelerating efforts to prepare the process for vaccine passports at several recent meetings.

As Thailand recently announced it will reopen to tourism in June or July, Việt Nam may lose out to other markets if it reopens too late.

At present, more than 70 countries have joined the IATA’s Travel Pass initiative. This contains personal information and data on COVID-19 at places of departure and destination, linked with government health portals.

The initiative may be piloted in specific areas, such as central Đà Nẵng City, to assess its safety, Tuấn said.

Along with legal regulations, technology, infrastructure, and personnel are other challenges facing the introduction of vaccine passports, according to analysts. — VNS

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