Vietnam finance ministry approves 20 pct rise in domestic airfares

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The Vietnamese Finance Ministry has approved a 20 percent price rise for domestic flights from December 15.

After the ministry issued the decision on December 6, national carrier Vietnam Airlines announced it will start raising airfares by 15-20 percent next Thursday.

Other airlines Air Mekong, Jetstar Pacific and VietJet Air have confirmed to the press that they would raise their airfares as well, but declined to reveal more specific information.

According to Vietnam Airlines, the new price list will see the highest increase rate of 20 percent for economy-class seats and 5 percent for business-class seats.

The new price list is divided into five groups, based on the length of the routes.

The first group consists of routes less than 500km long, including Ho Chi Minh City to Buon Ma Thuot, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Pleiku and Quy Nhon. For these, one-way economy class fares will increase by 20 percent (from VND1.1 million to VND1.32 million, excluding taxes).

For distances between 500km and 850km, including: Da Nang to Da Lat, Hai Phong and Nha Trang; Hanoi to Da Nang, Hue and Tam Ky; and HCMC to Da Nang and Hue, one-way economy class fares will increase by 15-20 percent (from VND1.481 million to VND1.7-1.78 million, excluding taxes).

On long-distance routes of between 1,000km and 1,280km, including Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Buon Ma Thuot, Da Lat, Nha Trang, and Tuy Hoa, and HCMC to Hai Phong and Vinh, one-way economy class airfares will increase by 15 percent (from VND2.227 million to VND2.56 million, excluding taxes).

The Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted a representative of leading travel firm Saigontourist as saying the new price hike was a "real shock" to domestic travel companies.

Tran Quoc Bao, chief of Saigontourist's Inbound Tour Department, expressed fears that the company would lose a significant number of tourist clients because of the increased airfares.

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