Asian Airlines Poised to Boost International Service

 - September 24, 2020, 2:28 PM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

Japan's two largest airlines – Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways—each said on Thursday they planned to increase flights to China as restrictions begin to ease and borders reopen throughout Asia. Starting next Wednesday, ANA will resume two mainland China routes, Qingdao and Guangzhou, while JAL adds Guangzhou to its destinations from October 2.  Passengers traveling from Japan to China must present a Covid-19 RT-PCR negative swab test certificate, taken within three days of departure.

The announcement comes as both countries lay plans to maintain control of the virus prior to their respective Olympic Games.  Originally scheduled for July, Japan moved to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics in March to 2021 over pandemic concerns while Beijing prepares to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. According to Japanese news sources, Japan wants to reopen business travel from all countries starting next month, although it plans initially to cap inbound traffic at 1000 passengers per day.

Elsewhere in Asia, Vietnam has allowed the resumption of flights to and from mainland China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos with a limit of no more than two flights per week on each route. However, the flights remain limited to business travelers, diplomatic passport holders, international students, and family members of Vietnamese citizens. While still finalizing flight schedules, flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced it will recommence service from Hanoi to Seoul starting September 26. Passengers traveling into Vietnam must produce a Covid-19 RT-PCR negative test certificate of results no more than three days old, present quarantine registration papers, install a Bluetooth-based tracking app on their mobile phones, and complete medical declarations.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s biggest carrier, Korean Air, will resume two weekly flights from Incheon to Ho Chi Minh City on Friday and Incheon to Hanoi on September 29. South Korea has also laid plans with Russia to resume the Incheon-Moscow route after September 27. Russian flag carrier Aeroflot will recommence its weekly Saturday flight to Incheon starting October 3 while Korea Air will operate a Friday flight to Moscow beginning October 9. Aeroflot also said it would resume flights from Moscow to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, starting September 24.