Airlines asked to open more air routes to provinces
With an aim to promote tourism, local provincial authorities are calling on airlines to open air routes to their areas. Some provinces are even willing to compensate airlines’ losses during the first phase of operation.
Two months ago, the leaders of Can Tho city met travel firms and airlines to discuss the plan to open new air routes. The city authorities promised to prop up enterprises’ office rent (for 12 months, VND15 million a month at maximum) and to offer ground service fee reduction. These would not be applied to the air routes that link Can Tho and Hanoi, Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Con Dao Island.
The municipal authorities also plan to offset airlines’ losses for the first year through different ways, ranging from VND4.5-8.5 billion per airline, depending on the air routes.
The suggested supports are still awaiting the nod from the Can Tho City People’s Council. However, Can Tho has given initial support to airlines for air routes that link Lam Dong province in Vietnam or Bangkok in Thailand.
Other localities are taking the same move. A new air route has been opened that links the central province with Thanh Hoa, while a new route to Chiang Mai in Thailand will open in early August.
Meanwhile, Thua Thien – Hue province plans to give support to help enterprises maintain and increase the frequency of the flights on the Hue – Can Tho – Phu Quoc; Hue – Luangprabang – Bangkok, Ayutthaya (Thailand) - Bagan (Myanmar).
According to Nguyen Van Ky, deputy director of the Quang Binh provincial Tourism Department, opening air routes will help the province diversify means of transport, which will also advertise Quang Binh as a destination.
“The seat occupancy rate at the routes that links Quang Binh and Hai Phong City is 60-65 percent, but the route still can be maintained. Once there are more international air routes, there will be more travelers from Thailand and third countries,” he said.
For the last three years, Vietravel has spent big money to open air routes linking tourism sites in Vietnam and other countries, including Can Tho – Lam Dong, connecting Can Tho, Da Nang, Vinh and Bangkok in Thailand. The travel firm is considering opening Hai Phong – Bangkok route.
The Can Tho – Lam Dong and Da nang – Bangkok routes have stopped operation. However, a senior executive of Vietravel still affirmed that the investments on the route were reasonable. The routes required huge investment rate and losses in the first phase of operation, but they helped develop the market, advertise the brand and promote tourism in the localities where the firm set up offices.
Mai Thanh, VNN