Vietnam Airlines is seeking an urgent VND12 trillion ($518 million) bailout from the government as the coronavirus continues to hit its revenues.
It is likely to report a loss of VND13 trillion ($561 million) this year, with revenues falling by half from last year to around VND50 trillion ($2.2 billion), CEO Duong Tri Thanh said at a meeting on Monday.
It has stopped all regular international flights since April when it operated only four domestic flights a day on average.
In June the number of passengers rose to 84 percent of the number a year earlier. “Since 1975 there has never been fewer flights in Vietnam’s skies,” he said, referring to the year the Vietnam War ended.
He expected the domestic market to recover to pre-pandemic levels only by the end of 2021, and the international market a year later.
Government advisors said at the meeting that other options to rescue the airline include issuing more shares to existing shareholders or allowing investment by sovereign fund State Capital Investment Corporation.
One of them, Nguyen Dinh Cung, said many other governments have bailed out airlines and Vietnam should do the same.
Thanh said Vietnam Airlines has taken up the issue of funding with All Nippon Airways, which owns a 8.6 percent stake in it, but since the Japanese carrier is also in trouble it cannot provide loans now.
In Vietnam, the aviation industry has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines served 14.6 million passengers in the first six months, down 46 percent year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.