South Korea reported 231 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected patients in the country to 833, health authorities said on February 24. Of the total confirmed cases, most were in Daegu, the country’s fourth largest city, and the nearby North Gyeongsang Province.
Due to the increase in cases in South Korea, all Vietnamese airlines have made adjustments in flight frequency or suspend the operation of flight routes.
So far, only Vietjet Air operated the route from Vietnam to Daegu to complete the contract of transporting Korean passengers from Vietnam back to Deagu. However, a representative of Vietjet Air also said that it is expected to suspend the operation of the Daegu - Da Nang route from February 25 to March 28. All other airlines, including Vietnam Airlines, Bamboo Airway and Jetstar Pacific, have no flights to Daegu, South Korea.
Although there has been no decision to suspend the Korean flights by aviation authority, flights between Vietnam and South Korea are decreasing because of the sharp decline in customer demand due to Covid-19 concerns. Apart from Vietnamese airlines, only South Korean airline T'Way Air is operating a route from Daegu to Vietnam. However, due to the sharp decline in flight demand, the airline canceled flights from Daegu to Hanoi and Da Nang (February 18 - March 28); canceled flights from Daegu to Nha Trang (February 23 - March 28). Thus, from February 25, Vietnam no longer had any flights to and from Daegu.
Besides Daegu, Vietnamese airlines also began to reduce the flight frequency and cancel 50% of flights between Vietnam and South Korea from February 17 to March 28. In particular, Bamboo Airways said it will suspend the operation of two routes Da Nang - Incheon and Nha Trang - Incheon from February 26 until the epidemic is under control. This is the first Vietnamese airline to stop all routes to South Korea.
According to Vietnam Airlines, by this time it has stopped all flights of Da Nang - Incheon and Cam Ranh (Nha Trang) - Incheon. Vietnam Airlines still maintained flights of Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City - Incheon and Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City - Busan but the flight frequency has decreased significantly due to the reduction of passengers. Specifically, the VN 414 - 415 flights to and from Incheon International Airport (Seoul, South Korea) and Noi Bai (Hanoi, Vietnam) on February 26 and 28; March 4, 6, 8 - 12, 18 - 19, 25 - 26 will be suspended.
Moreover, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) in Vietnam said that Korean Air stopped operating KE 483 and KE 484 flights of Incheon - Noi Bai from February 25 to February to March 23. Air Seoul also announced the suspension of the Hanoi - Seoul route from March 1 to March 28. The airline also supports refund and exchange tickets for passengers. Currently, the airline also operates routes from Seoul to Da Nang and Nha Trang. Earlier, Asiana Airlines also stopped the Seoul - Hanoi route on OZ 727 - 728 flights from February 18 to March 9. T'Way Air stops all flights to and from Hanoi and South Korea from now until March 28.
After China, South Korea is the second largest market for tourist arrivals to Vietnam. According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, in the first 9 months of 2019, 3.1 million Korean tourists visited Vietnam, accounting for about 24.4% of international tourists.