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Vietnam Airlines: Actively adapted for the new situation

Putting cargo flights in operation very soon showed creatively and flexibility reactions by Vietnam Airlines (VNA) to changes in the market, producing revenue in the time of passenger transport going down.

In the situation that the number of passenger flights went down drastically, Vietnam Airlines pushed up their cargo transport to make up of the revenue

Decreasing in needs of travel and impacts from immigration restriction policies and border closing almost halted aviation sector’s activities, making fleets of airliners idly ground-lying. Airlines worldwide, including Vietnam Airlines, have to face difficulties. There will be great changes forecast to business in 2020 of the Corporation.

Flexibility for adaption

Being affected from the pandemic, many airlines worldwide currently went into bankruptcy or were in debt. Shutdowns or cut-back in staff are temporary solutions only. For long-term solutions, they need some strategies, not assistance from their governments.

Instead of waiting for a miracle, Vietnam Airlines has actively carried out various measurements: focusing on adjusting business size, minimizing raising costs- especially fixed costs and operation ensuring costs, making good use of assistance from the Government and partners to maintain its operation, and preparing resources for recovery stage.

In the situation that the number of passenger flights went down drastically, Vietnam Airlines pushed up their cargo transport to make up of the revenue, and at the same time played the role of a national airline in connecting business and accompanying with the country in the time of the pandemic. The airline gave out solutions for their temporary idly ground-lying fleet. And pushing up cargo transport showed a strategic vision and flexibility in the difficult time.

From March 2020, when the pandemic of coronavirus outbroke in Vietnam- the time passenger flights were reduced in number, Vietnam Airlines effectively put into operation airliners with passenger seats sealed or removed for cargo transport. It was a completely new method in Vietnam and in the world as well. At the time, Vietnam Airlines faced the greatest challenge: there were no regulations or particular guideline to the form of exploitation. However, with determination and the spirit of working, Vietnam Airlines fulfilled requirements from the aviation authorities and requirements in exploitation.

Vietnam Airlines removed seats in passenger cabin to increase payload for two Airbus A321s. Previously, the airline transported cargo on passenger seats on Airbus A321s, Airbus A350s, Boeing 787s when the solution were approved by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam. Normally, a plane carrying both passengers and cargo in its belly can carry 2 tons of cargo (to A321s), or 15 tons (to Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s). If they carry cargo only the number will be 8 - 9 tons and 35 - 40 tons. For example, to A321s, when seats in passenger cabin were removed for cargo transport, the plan was able to carry 14 tons of cargo. Therefore, changes in passenger cabin increase from 2 to 7 times the plane’s payload, which resulted in optimizing costs and revenue.

The changes were considered a great innovation by European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and Airbus manufacturer. Other aviation organizations as ICAO and IATA have not had particular guidelines. Based on regulations from the Vietnam’s Aviation Administration, Vietnam Airlines had researches and evaluations in terms of technology, plane structures, and cargo transport needs… for particular safe feasible solutions that meet the standards and regulations.

More business to overcome difficulties

Vietnam Airlines has currently focused on increasing the numbers of cargo flights to ensure local and international business. From March to August 2020, the airline increased over 2,000 cargo transport flights to Northeast Asia countries as Japan, Korea, China, and Hong Kong; to Southeast Asia (Thailand and Singapore); to Europe (England, France, Germany and Russia); and to Australia. Besides, it also increased nearly 200 local cargo transport flights from Hanoi - HCMC, Hanoi - Nha Trang and Hanoi - Can Tho.

Vietnam Airlines’ free transport of medical equipment as assistance from the Government and Vietnamese people to governments and people of countries’ affected by the pandemic of COVID-19

In spite of difficult conditions, with a number of on-time solutions and efforts, in the first six months of 2020, Vietnam Airlines’ cargo transport had the revenue of VND 3,076bn - an important revenue contributing to the productivity result of the Vietnam Airlines Corporation and reducing negative impacts from the pandemic in the first six months of the year. In May 2020, the revenue from cargo transport reached VND 830bn - the greatest revenue in a month so far.

Vietnam Airlines are trying to push up their cargo transport to the end of the year to maintain their business in the difficult time by the pandemic of coronavirus and to contribute in the country socioeconomic developments.

The key duty in the period of 2020 - 2025 to Vietnam Airlines’ cargo transport is to maintain its first position in local routes and to reach the third position in the Southeast Asia; improving its service quality and ensuring its safety. Besides, the airline tries to overfulfill the plan and target on cargo assigned by the Corporation, to have 2 - 3 planes specially operating in the field of cargo transport in 2023 and to reach the revenue of VND 8,000bn in 2025.

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