After years of consecutive double-digit growth, Vietnam’s aviation sector is seeing a slowdown in passenger traffic for the first half of 2019, compared to the year-ago period.

In a report card released by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), 72 airlines carried 20.2 million international passengers, up 12.5% year-on-year (YOY). However, despite the double-digit growth, it was slower compared to 26% in 1H 2018. 

The trend was the same for the market, where Vietnam’s five carriers—Bamboo AirwaysJetstar Pacific, VASCO, VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines—flies 33 routes across 22 airports.

For 1H 2019, a total of 18.3 million passengers were carried, up 6.2% YOY, but down 2.7% when compared to the 9% growth for the year earlier.

LCC VietJet Air continues to dominate the market with a 44% market share, followed by flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, which has a 35.9% market share.

While the CAAV has not cited a direct underlying source for the decline, local international airports could be coming to terms with its massive influx of traffic and could be near capacity.

On-time performance has also suffered during the period, down 1.3% YOY to 84.8%, and the number of canceled flights has risen marginally YOY to 0.2%, or 274 flights. VietJet Air and VASCO alone accounts for 110 flights.

VASCO, a subsidiary of Vietnam Airlines, says a number of cancellations were because of bad weather in remote airports such as Noi Bai, Dien Bien and Dong Hoi, where adverse weather could last for days.  

Chen Chuanren,