Vietnam airlines cancel, delay over 546 flights during Tet holiday

The aviation authority named overcrowding at major airports, especially Tan Son Nhat in HCMC and Noi Bai in Hanoi, during Tet as a main reason behind the delays of 439 flights and 107 flight cancellations from February 6 to 13. This period saw Vietnam Airlines postpone 274 flights and call off 103 others, and the respective figures for Jetstar Pacific were 60 and four. Air Mekong had 91 delays.

A majority of postponed and canceled flights departing from HCMC were bound for the country’s northern and central regions, as huge numbers of people were getting back to their hometowns there for family reunion during the year’s longest holiday that fell on February 10.

The check-in network congestion in the afternoon of February 11 resulted in Vietnam Airlines delaying many domestic services departing from Tan Son Nhat airport.

The report also indicated a modest increase in travel demand during this holiday, which was much lower than strong double-digit rises during Tet of previous years. CAAV said local carriers transported 425,000 passengers, up 5.8% compared to the Tet period of 2012; of which passengers on their international flights grew 8.6% year-on-year to 131,000 and those on their domestic services surged 4.6% to 293,000.

National flagship carrier Vietnam Airlines carried nearly 360,000 out of the 425,000 passengers, including more than 130,000 traveling on its domestic flights and the rest on its international services during Tet.

In the Tet period of more than one week starting from February 6, Vietnam’s airports handled more than one million passengers, up 16.9% over the same period of Tet in 2012 while cargo registered a whopping rise of 55.5% to 11,000 tons.

Local airlines said flight delays and cancellations would be inevitable between now and February 24, or the 15th of lunar January, in which large numbers of passengers travel back to HCMC for work, thus causing overcrowding at Noi Bai and other airports.

To ease the check-in pressure at airports of embarkation, Vietnam Airlines is requesting passengers who depart from 10 p.m. to midnight between now and February 22 to complete check-in procedures on the first floor of Noi Bai Airport’s Terminal 1.

The airline, which takes a lion’s share of Vietnam’s civil aviation market, is also asking passengers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before departure time or process online check-ins at, instead of spending much time on this procedure at the airport.