Vietnam Airlines said it will temporarily suspend all flights between Vietnam and South Korea starting March 5 due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in South Korea.
The Vietnamese flag carrier typically operates flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Nha Trang to Seoul, as well as flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Busan.
Vietnam Airlines said it would inform passengers when it plans to resume flights to South Korea “as soon as the situation permits”.
As of writing the story the coronavirus has infected over 4,800 people and caused 28 deaths in South Korea, according to South China Morning Post.
Vietnam Airlines said its flights from Seoul Incheon and Busan Gimhae airports to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on March 3 and March 4 will be rerouted to land at Van Don (Quang Ninh), Can Tho, and Phu Cat (Quy Nhon) airports “at the request of authorities”.
The rerouting details are as follows:
- Flight VN423 (Busan-Ho Chi Minh City): scheduled to take off at 1245 and land at 1635 at Can Tho airport
- Flight VN405 (Incheon-Ho Chi Minh City): scheduled to take off at 1755 and land at 2100 at Van Don airport
- Flight VN423 (Busan-Ho Chi Minh City): scheduled to take off at 1000 and land at 1305 at Phu Cat airport
- Flight VN409 (Incheon-Ho Chi Minh City): scheduled to take off at 1015 and land at 1335 at Phu Cat airport
- Flight VN417 (Incheon-Hanoi): scheduled to take off at 1035 and land at 1335 at Van Don airport
The airline added that the entire crew on these flights will be equipped with protective gear and it will also disinfect all aircraft returning from South Korea.
Previously, the airline had adjusted its in-flight services on its South Korean routes by providing only bottled mineral water and packaged snacks to economy class passengers instead of hot meals “to minimise contact with reusable items”, not offering magazines and pillows, and maintaining the temperature in the passenger cabin at 26 degrees Celsius “to suppress the survival and development” of the virus.
Another Vietnamese carrier, Bamboo Airways, has also suspended flights to Seoul since February 26 “until further notice”.
Business Traveller Asia-Pacific is updating a list of airlines that have suspended or reduced flights to South Korea due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country: