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Vietnam's first int'l commercial flight in six months takes off amid pandemic

A Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Vietnam's first international commercial flight after six months of suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic, carried over 100 passengers to Japan Saturday morning.

The one-way flight, operated by Vietnam Airlines with passengers queueing up from 3:30 a.m., from Noi Bai airport to Narita airport took off at 6:30 a.m.

Vietnam, first int'l commercial flight, six months, takes off, Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Covid-19 pandemic, one-way flight

Passengers on the flight mainly included Vietnamese students and guest workers.

Vietnamese are the third largest group of foreigners in Japan after Chinese and South Koreans, numbering nearly 412,000 last year, according to Japan's Justice Ministry. Japan is Vietnam's largest labor market, receiving around 80,000 Vietnamese in 2019, the latter's official data shows.

In addition to required documents like passports and visas, passengers need to show a certificate confirming they tested negative for the novel coronavirus issued within three days before departure. Vietnam Airlines only accepts the result from the Military Hospital 108 or the Central Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, both based in Hanoi.

Vietnam, first int'l commercial flight, six months, takes off, Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Covid-19 pandemic, one-way flight

Vietnam Airlines staff instructs passengers to install health declaration apps and checks coronavirus testing certificates.

Le Thi Hong Loi waits to proceed through airport security. Loi said she was traveling to Japan to work for a manufacturing company.

"Flying to Japan for the first time, I was a bit worried due to the Covid-19 situation although I have prepared for every eventuality," she said.

Before boarding, many passengers wore protective clothing to ensure anti-pandemic prevention although not mandatory.

Vietnam, first int'l commercial flight, six months, takes off, Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Covid-19 pandemic, one-way flight

Passengers wear face masks and sit at least one meter apart to limit the risk of infection.

Vietnam Airlines will organize two other flights from Hanoi to Tokyo on September 25 and 30, as well as one from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on September 30, the national flag carrier stated.

Passenger flights from Japan to Vietnam would only recommence after approval from relevant authorities.

Upon returning to Vietnam, the entire crew will have their health checked and undergo 14-day quarantine as per Health Ministry protocol.

Over the past months, Vietnam Airlines has organized many repatriation flights to carry thousands of Vietnamese workers and students home from Japan.

Vietnam, first int'l commercial flight, six months, takes off, Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Covid-19 pandemic, one-way flight

The flight crew had 14 members - 10 flight attendants and four pilots.

Vietnam suspended all international flights on March 25. The government has allowed the resumption of commercial flights to seven Asian destinations, including Japan. Aviation authorities are working to finalize Covid-19 testing procedures and ensure there are sufficient quarantine facilities and medical staff to receive foreign passengers.

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Source: VnExpress

Vietnam, first int'l commercial flight, six months, takes off, Hanoi-Tokyo flight, Covid-19 pandemic, one-way flight
 
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