Air transport agencies asked to prepare for upcoming busy national holidays
Fewer people would be allowed to enter airports to pick up or drop passengers off for departure, particularly at the busy Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC, during the upcoming national holidays.
Congestion at Tan Son Nhat International Airport last week as many people had to spend hours completing procedures from medical declarations to security screening. — VNA/VNS Photo
This is part of the Transport Ministry’s directions to traffic agencies to ensure order and security during the four-day holiday on the occasion of the Day of Southern Liberation for National Reunification (April 30) and International Labour Day (May 1), during which a large surge of domestic tourism with the virus situation under control.
Airports have been asked to examine and supervise the implementation of regulations on aviation safety, security and airport services.
Airline operators must provide passengers with proper instructions so they can make their trips as planned.
The airlines must have proper plans to arrange facilities and staff to meet increasing demand during the national holidays. Flight delays or cancellations should be minimised.
Over the last few weeks, congestion has increased at major airports. Prolonged congestion at security screening areas at Tan Son Nhat Airport caused delays to flights and frustration among many passengers. Some missed their flights as they had to queue for hours for security screening.
The filling of medical declarations was blamed for worsening the congestion at the airport as many passengers did not fill out medical declarations before arriving.
Head of Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam Dinh Viet Thang has sent an urgent notice to airlines, asking them to step up communication regarding medical declarations among passengers.
“The airlines can refuse to serve passengers who fail to submit medical declarations and other disease prevention/control measures,” Thang said, adding that the airlines would be sanctioned if they allow passengers without medical declarations to board.
Airport authorities and airlines were asked to co-operate in helping passengers fill in medical declarations before reaching security check areas.
According to Noi Bai Airport Authority, on March 30, it found nearly 1,500 passengers without medical declarations queuing at security areas, 712 such passengers on March 31 and nearly 2,300 on April 2.
At HCM City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport, at peak hours between April 14 and April 19, there were about 2,100 to 2,400 passengers per hour in Hall A, which exceeded the design capacity by 25 to 30 per cent.
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) and Tan Son Nhat Airport on April 19 said that the operating capacity granted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam allows up to 1,728 persons per hour at the security gate at Hall A and up to 1,584 persons per hour at Hall B.
Pham Vu Cuong, vice director of the airport, told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper that the overselling of flights was one of causes for the congestion.
In some cases, they announced delays of flights due to technical problems and passengers on such flights had to wait for others, resulting in overcrowding at the airport at that time.
“Violations resulted in unplanned increases of passenger numbers, so congestion worsened,” he said, adding that security checks should not be blamed for the congestion.
For the railway sector, the ministry also asked for measures ensuring safety in risk-prone areas like road-railway crossings or areas where railway corridors are illegally occupied by businesses or vehicles.
Railway passengers are also required to have their body temperature checked and submit their online health declaration, wear face masks and keep safe distances when getting on the train.
Locations that passengers usually touch including doorknobs, toilet handles or taps must be disinfected every three hours.
The ministry called for speeding up online ticket selling and the provision of more information on routes, times and services.
Meanwhile, inland waterway authorities were asked to co-operate with localities to tighten inspections at ferry stations and ports especially those with tourism boats or small vessels used to carry people to islands.
Illegal ferry stations, vessels without legal registration, those without lifebuoys, life jackets, overcrowding or failing to meet COVID-19 prevention and control regulations must be suspended.
Vietnam Register was asked to tighten examinations of vehicles and vessels, particularly sleeper coaches and high-speed boats and vessels used to carry people to islands.
For road transportation, relevant agencies were asked to check road signs. Road construction agencies were urged to fix and maintain the roads they are responsible for.
During maintenance, they must have plans to reorganise routes to ensure smooth traffic and avoid congestion.
The national holidays on April 30 and May 1 are expected to see increased travel demand as May 1 falls on Saturday and State employees and students could have an additional day off on May 3. Moreover, the latest COVID-19 outbreak in late January came just a few weeks before the Lunar New Year, forcing many people to cancel travel plans.
Many people are expected to make a trip during the coming holidays, particularly when Vietnam has squashed its latest wave of COVID-19 infections and domestic tourist agencies are putting out numerous promotion programmes to entice customers.