Fewer Hanoi-HCM City flights but fares stable - Fewer Hanoi-HCM City flights but fares stable - Website Ho Chi Minh City
Domestic airlines operating on the popular Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route have reduced the number of their flights due to technical and staff difficulties, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) reported on October 5.
Nonetheless, it assured passengers that the domestic carriers were adhering to the flexible fare mechanism and not exceeding the ceiling level regulated.
The announcement followed recent complaints about lack of seats and surging fares despite this being the off-peak season.
Under existing regulations that went into effect in September 2015, the ceiling price of a one way Hanoi-HCM City ticket is 3.2 million VND (140.5 USD), excluding taxes, fees and other service charges.
Airlines said they offer more than 10 price levels on that popular route with the maximum net price of a one way ticket, ranging from 3.15 million VND on Vietnam Airlines (VNA), 3 million VND on Jetstar Pacific (JPA), and 2.87 million VND on Vietjet Air (VJA).
Although fuel prices have increased since 2015, Vietnamese airlines are still selling tickets within the regulated price range. “If the airlines violate the price regulations, the authorised body will step in and fine them in accordance with the law,” said the CAAV.
In response to passenger complaints of a recent drop in the number of flights and increase in ticket prices, especially on the Hanoi-HCM City route where few discounts are available, CAAV explained that budget carrier Jetstar Pacific had cancelled a series of flights due to staff shortage, especially pilots.
Meanwhile, budget carrier Vietjet Air also reduced its flight frequency from an average 25 one-way flights a day to 16 flights per day due to the planned maintenance of aircraft and increased international flights.
Overall, according to CAAV data, from late September to early October, there were an average of 47 one-way Hanoi-HCM City flights, 85.5 percent more than the same period last year. Vietnam Airlines accounted for 25 flights (increased by 85.5 percent), while VietJet Air has 16 flights (down 15.7 percent), and Jestar Pacific operates six flights (down 53.8 percent). Flights are totally booked and passengers have to postpone travel in some cases.
In order to meet demand, the CAAV has directed airlines to increase the number of flights. By mid-October, Vietnam Airlines plans to add 2-3 flights per day between HCM City and Hanoi, on average. It will also use larger aircraft on several of the flights. Vietjet Air is planning to add 4-5 flights per day, to an average of 20 flights on the route next week.
Jetstar Pacific will not add flights, for now, but has been working closely with Vietnam Airlines to ensure those having bought tickets get to their destination despite the decreased flights. Starting in November it hopes to operate 8-9 flights on this route, on average.