Airlines have warned that, like previous years, the air tickets for the flights from Ho Chi Minh City (HCM City) to Hanoi on the days before Tet and on Tet days, and the tickets for the flights from Hanoi to HCM City on the days after Tet will be short. The average airfare for the flights from HCM City to Hue, Hai Phong and Hanoi Cities on peak days is about four million dong (return ticket). The flights from HCM City to Quy Nhon, Buon Ma Thuot and Tuy Hoa by Vietnam Airlines which will take off on peak days have been nearly fully booked.
According to the budget airline Jetstar Pacific (JPA), flights on HCM City – Vinh/ Hue/ Hai Phong to take off from January 27 to February 2, 2011 (December 24-30th of Lunar Year) have been fully booked. Meanwhile, only a few seats on flights on Vinh/ Hue/ Hai Phong – HCM City to take off on February 8-9, 2011 (January 6-7 of Lunar Year) have been left. However, the air tickets for the flights are running out, since the number of passengers booking tickets right at this moment is increasing rapidly.
Vietnam Airlines’ tickets are also running out for the flights on some other routes which are expected to take off from January 26, 2011 to the days just before Tet, and the flights on the opposite ways which are expected to take off on February 6-8, 2011. Passengers now have only once choice of booking business class tickets, priced at over three million dong per ticket, because economy class tickets have run out.
Passengers hope that the market joining of Air Mekong will help ease the situation. Truong Thanh Vu, Business and Service Director of Air Mekong said the airline will only have the Tet flight schedule in early November. At present, the air carrier provides 34 flights on eight air routes, providing over 3,000 seats. Vu said the air carrier will increase the number of flights on the routes with high demand, such as HCM City – Hanoi/ Da Nang and Hanoi/ Da Nang – HCM City.
Analysts say 3000 seats are really a small number if compared with the huge volume of passengers who have the demand to take flights on Tet days. However, the appearance of Mekong Air in the market, especially on the air routes, where Vietnam Airlines was once the only carrier, will help much ease the tense.
JPA and Vietnam Airlines both have said they will provide more flights on Tet, while the plan to increase flights will be made public in some more days.
The problem is that airlines do not really want to provide more flights on Tet, even though the demand for traveling increases sharply on those days. Representative from JPA said it always happens that in the days just before Tet, pilots fly from HCM City to Hanoi on the planes full of passengers and then fly back from Hanoi to HCM City on empty planes, because of no passenger.
On the 2010 Tet, a lot of passengers complained that they could not book tickets directly with booking agents and they had to purchase tickets from intermediaries (the intermediaries, anticipating the high demand, booked tickets soon with booking agents and then they sold the booked tickets to real passengers.
Source: Saigon tiep thi