The impact of the epidemic is “unprecedented in aviation history,” Thanh said.
Vietnam Airlines expects the number of passengers to decline by 2.5 million this year, and, as a result, revenues by VND12 trillion ($519 million).
In addition to a big fall in the number of Chinese passengers, the airline is also facing a decline in the number of passengers on other international and domestic routes. It had said it was losing VND200-250 billion ($8.6-10.8 million) per week following the suspension of flights to China.
It has also cut many flights to South Korea’s Seoul and Busan as the epidemic worsens in that country.
The cancellation of flights has meant that as many as 40 aircraft, or 40 percent of Vietnam Airlines’s fleet, are idle now, Thanh said.
The novel coronavirus outbreak will cost the Vietnamese aviation industry an estimated VND25 trillion ($1.08 billion) in revenues this year, the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam estimates.
Vietnam has suspended entry from all areas affected by the coronavirus outbreak following the discovery of more cases in South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran.
While in Vietnam all 16 Covid-19 patients have been discharged and no new cases were recorded in the last two weeks, the global death toll has reached nearly 3,000, mostly in China.