Local media quoted the city’s chairman, Vo Thanh Thong, who said the Mekong Delta city will target airlines that can offer new direct international flights to Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan, while adding domestic routes to Vinh and Dalat. The campaign will run until 2020.

The municipal government is drafting policies to support enterprises to open air routes. Support features include reducing costs for office rental, promotions and ground service fees. It will also offer financial aid to even subsidise an airline if vacant seats exceed certain levels agreed upon mutually.

According to the draft, airlines opening new routes to and from Can Tho will enjoy incentives such as discounted or free office rental for 12 months with a maximum subsidy of VND15 million (USD660.95) per month per firm. Ground service fees will cut in half during the first year for domestic flights while international flights will receive an additional 30% discount in the following year.

The maximum amount that the city would need to cover subsidiaries would be VND5 billion (USD223,214) a year for domestic services and VND8.5 billion (USD379,464) a year for international routes.

Can Tho International Airport currently has domestic flights to Hanoi, Phu Quoc, Con Dao and Danang. Meanwhile, routes connecting the city with Dalat and Nha Trang have been suspended due to losses.

For international routes, flights from the city to Taipei, Taiwan started earlier this year. Charter flights to Bangkok, Thailand have halted, but they served mainly Vietnamese outbound travellers.

The city will target regional low-cost airlines to offer them incentives to start services to develop two-way leisure and business traffic rather than holiday charter flights that concentrate solely on Vietnamese visiting overseas destinations.

Last year, the number of visitors to Can Tho City grew 14% year-on-year to reach 5.3 million, including over 590,000 foreign visitors. Tourism revenue reached USD80.3 million, up 5% over 2015.

By Wanwisa Ngamsangchaikit - TTR Weekly - May 18, 2017