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First routine international flight since pandemic takes off from Việt Nam

For the first time in six months, an international commercial flight took off from Hà Nội Saturday morning, heading to Japan.

Flight VN310, conducted by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, left Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội at 6.30am for a five-hour journey to Narita Airport in Tokyo.

It marked the beginning of the resumption of regular flights to a number of selected countries in Asia since planes were grounded back in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Onboard were Vietnamese trainees, workers, and experts heading back to Tokyo to continue their studies and work after months of disruption.

It also carried a number of Japanese citizens heading home.

All 60 passengers boarding the Vietnam Airlines flight had to present a mandatory proof of a negative coronavirus tests (PCR diagnostics) issued three days before the flight, declare their travel history in the 14 days prior and download contract tracing apps as per health protocols set by the host country.

The flight crew will all undergo health examinations and be quarantined when they returned to Việt Nam.

Vietnam Airlines is set to organise two more flights from Hà Nội to Tokyo on September 25 and 30, and one from HCM City to Tokyo on September 30.

Budget carrier Vietjet has also announced resumption of flights to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (China) starting September 29. Meanwhile Bamboo Airways said they are preparing to open Hải Phòng-Singapore, Hà Nội and HCM City-Melbourne flights in the fourth quarter of this year, Hà Nội and HCM City-London, and Hà Nội and HCM City-Munich, Frankfurt in the first quarter of 2021 after the Government decides on further resumption of international flights.

The resumption of flights from Japan to Việt Nam, are still waiting for a final decision from the Vietnamese Government.

International flights to and from Việt Nam were grounded late March after the Government imposed border closures against all foreign entries.

Since then, Vietnamese airlines only carried out a number of irregular flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens overseas or bring in a limited number of foreign investors, highly skilled workers, experts, business managers, diplomats.

Xuân Phúc asked for higher frequency of commercial flights, with the detailed plans to be approved by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh as well as Deputy Prime Minister Vũ Đức Đam, chair of the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Earlier, Việt Nam’s Government decided to reopen international flights to six Asian destinations – Japan, South Korea, mainland China, Taiwan (China), Cambodia, and Laos – all important partners and deemed to be epidemiologically safe, as the country aims to balance COVID-19 prevention with economic development. — VNS

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