To maintain its pivotal role in Vietnam’s economic growth, from March 2020, Vietnam Airlines has started its cargo-only services covering both domestic and international routes.
Accordingly, from the 12th to the 31st of March 2020, Vietnam Airlines has deployed 45 flights to transport freights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Japan, Korea, China, Hongkong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Bangkok. These flights are operated on Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350 aircraft, carrying about 20 – 25 tonnes of cargo per way, equivalent to a load factor of 95% – 100%.
These are Vietnam Airlines’ first-ever cargo-only flights, without any passengers and flight attendants. Cockpit crew members are still equipped with full protective gear and all cargo compartments are disinfected upon landing.
Vietnam Airlines’ cargo-only flights are sustaining the delivery of living necessities, as well as protective gear, face masks, medical emergency supplies and equipment to combat the COVID-19. Recently, Vietnam Airlines has transported free of charge three tonnes of Cho Ray Hospital’s cargo which consisted of specialized medical protective gear, medical face masks from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi as well as ten ventilators donated by Temasek Foundation from Singapore to Vietnam.
These efforts represent the flag carrier’s crucial support for the nationwide joint anti-epidemic fight as well as the continuity of the global trade ecosystem, especially export and import industries hence improving the living standards of workers in key industrial zones and factories.
As many domestic and international passenger flights have been drastically reduced and suspended due to COVID-19, the operation of cargo-only flights will allow airlines to deal with the situation of aircraft “lying idle”, optimizing Vietnam Airlines’ available resources, and improving revenue during this period.
In April 2020, Vietnam Airlines will continue to put passenger aircraft back in service to carry freight to boost both domestic and global trade. The airline expects to operate about 150 cargo-only flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and from Nha Trang, Can Tho to Hanoi. Regarding international routes, the airline will expand to 130 flights that only carry goods to Northeast Asia (Japan, Korea, China, Hongkong), Southeast Asia (Thailand, Singapore), Europe (the UK, France, Germany, Russia) and Australia.
Vietnam Airlines is looking to boost air cargo from now until the end of the year to facilitate the country’s socio-economic development and maintain the airline’s business operations.