New year, new energy
The 2022 Lunar New Year saw airport check-in lounges jam-packed with travelers and popular destinations like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Dalat, and Sapa welcoming waves of tourists. This was thrilling for travel-lovers who had endured two years of travel restrictions due to Covid-19. The responsive and efficient implementation of pandemic-prevention protocols and the government’s efforts to deploy Covid-19 vaccines have partially put visitors at ease, especially now that Vietnam is among the six countries with the highest vaccine coverage rates in the world, surpassing the goal set by the WHO. Vietnam has achieved 100-percent vaccine coverage for those 18 years and older and aims to finish giving third injections to this group as early as March 2022.
Vietnam’s vaccine passport is now recognized in Japan, the United States, the UK, Australia, India, Belarus, Cambodia, the Philippines, and the Maldives, to name a few destinations. Vietnam has also temporarily recognized vaccination certificates from 79 countries and territories at this time. This allows Vietnam to fully reopen and avoid missing out on the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to gain its competitive edge as worldwide tourism markets are making rapid recoveries.
At the Regular Government Meeting in early 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh strongly suggested that Vietnam reopen its borders and seize the chance for a swift recovery and sustainable development. Following the directions of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam sent a written request to Vietnam Air Traffic Management Corporation to remove restrictions on routine and non-routine passenger flights starting from February 15, 2022.
A lively spring
In January 2022,Vietnam Airlines transported nearly 30,000 international passengers, a six-fold increase compared to 2021. This figure is expected to rise sharply this year when Vietnam fully reopens to international visitors, opening up chances for the aviation and tourism industries to rebound and driving economic development after a long hiatus. Jumping at the opportunity, Vietnam-based tour companies relaunched international travel programs at the dawn of 2022.
A representative of Saigontourist stated that visitors are now interested in US tours, especially after Vietnam Airlines opened the first and only regular direct flight between Ho Chi Minh City and San Francisco in November 2021. The tour company is launching attractive deals to draw in customers, including a 6-day trip to the US and a 5-day, 3-night tour package to the Maldives. Many other travel businesses are also rushing to reopen tours to Southeast Asia, Europe, and Australia, which are well-established overseas markets with popular Vietnam Airlines’ flight routes.
Meanwhile, domestic tour operators are also boosting services for international arrivals. According to Vinpearl JSC, until the end of February, the company will welcome eight group-inclusive tours with about 2,000 tourists from Uzbekistan to the Phu Quoc United Center of Vingroup. It also looks forward to entertaining 26 tour groups from Russia with over 8,000 visitors to Nha Trang by the end of March 2022. Oxalis Adventure, which runs multiple tour packages in Son Doong, dubbed “the world’s largest cave in Vietnam,” reported that all bookings for 2022 and 10 percent of bookings for 2023 have been reserved, 80 percent of which were booked by foreign visitors.
A chance to accelerate
Waiting at the door of opportunity, Vietnam Airlines from 2021 made themselves a pioneer by becoming the first Vietnamese airline to partake in the “vaccine passport” program and piloting the IATA Travel Pass mobile app, easing cross-country travels. At the same time, it has further facilitated coordination with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and localities, as well as leading companies and partners, to revive and promote tourism, proactively allocating resources to prepare for international flights. On February 17, Vietnam Airlines resumed regular flights between Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), just two days after the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam lifted restrictions on the frequency of international flights. The airline has also resumed regular flights between Vietnam and 15 other countries and territories, and by July 2022 plans to fully resume its international flight network to that before Covid.
Besides reopening international flights, Vietnam Airlines has also launched innovative products for novel customer experiences. Among these is the VNAMAZING e-commerce platform, which offers services for national and international travel, and flight-and-hotel bundles in collaboration with many big brands. It also launched Vietnam Airlines Gift Cards, which can be exchanged for flight tickets or upgrades to Business Class when passengers fly with Vietnam Airlines Group. This allows customers access to the Lotus Lounge and offers extra checked baggage, priority check-in and boarding, and more.
In addition, the airline has also entered into partnership deals with various reputable firms to enhance their utilities and increase customers’ benefits. This includes collaborating with the world’s leading group IHG Hotels & Resorts to offer Golden Lotus members discounts on rooms, catering services, early check-in, and late check-out from now until December 01, 2022; full cooperation with Sun Group to offer up to 30% discounts on Economy Class fares to destinations with Sun Group’s facilities, namely at least 10% off at Asia Park (Danang) and at least 5% off at Fansipan (Lao Cai), Ha Long (Quang Ninh), Hon Thom (Phu Quoc), and Ba Den (Tay Ninh) within seven days from the time of the flight; cooperation with Vinpearl to create all-inclusive airline and tour packages; full cooperation with Thien Minh Group to launch two E-card products, Vivu Card and Em Card, offering all-inclusive flight tickets and luxury resort packages; among other promotions.
As part of a high-revenue industry, aviation enterprises, including Vietnam Airlines, are expected to see rapid growth with upcoming shifts in the business environment. A recent outlook report by SSI Research on Vietnam’s aviation industry suggests an almost-certain recovery, with the bulk of profits regained by the end of 2022 – evident by the fact that Vietnamese airlines saw good load factors during Tet, especially when citizens have received their first booster shots and the country is fully reopened. Viet Capital Securities JSC is also confident of the aviation industry’s recovery within the 2022-2026 period, predicting that international air transport will likely rebound steadily starting from 2022.
This expectation was further confirmed in the first trading session after the Lunar New Year, as investors scrambled to buy shares in Vietnam Airlines (stock code HVN) at the price ceiling of VND 26,000 per share – the highest rate it had reached in the last six months. The right time, place, and conditions have all been met, allowing Vietnam Airlines to throw open its doors to recovery and development.
Vietnam Airlines International Flight Schedule
Date of withdrawal (DOW)
Ho Chi Minh City – San Francisco
Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday Sunday
Hanoi – London
Hanoi – Frankfurt
Ho Chi Minh City – Frankfurt
Hanoi – Paris
Hanoi – Moscow
Hanoi – Sydney
Ho Chi Minh City – Sydney
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday
Ho Chi Minh City – Melbourne
Hanoi – Hong Kong
Ho Chi Minh City – Hong Kong
Hanoi – Tokyo
Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday
Ho Chi Minh City – Tokyo
Hanoi – Osaka
Ho Chi Minh City – Osaka
Hanoi – Nagoya
Hanoi – Seoul
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
Ho Chi Minh City – Seoul
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
Hanoi – Kaohsiung
Ho Chi Minh City – Kaohsiung
Hanoi – Taipei
Ho Chi Minh City – Taipei
Ho Chi Minh City – Kuala Lumpur
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday
Hanoi – Singapore
Tuesday, Friday, Saturday
Ho Chi Minh City – Singapore
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday
Hanoi – Bangkok
Ho Chi Minh City – Bangkok
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Hanoi – Vientiane