Air New Zealand touches down in Vietnam with new direct flight

By Dam Tuan   June 6, 2016 | 04:06 pm GMT+7

The 11-hour flight from Auckland landed in Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday morning, opening direct Air New Zealand flights to Vietnam that are expected to offer more cooperation opportunities between the two countries.

The official launch of Air New Zealand’s direct flight to Vietnam's economic hub Ho Chi Minh City is part of New Zealand’s efforts to expand in the Pacific Rim, according to an official statement from the airline.

Air New Zealand plans to offer two-way flights from Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City three times a week for an initial promotional price of VND8,800,000 (about $393), excluding VAT, on Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

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Air New Zealand is launching direct flights to Vietnam from June 2016. Photo by common.wikimedia.org

According to Minister of Transport Truong Quang Nghia, direct flights connecting New Zealand and Vietnam's largest cities will offer opportunities for investors and enhance tourism, culture and education collaboration.

“This connection will offer Vietnamese people the chance to taste better quality apples and kiwis from New Zealand for a cheaper price, while mangos, dragonfruit and other Vietnamese products could reach the New Zealand market. Education and tourism opportunities between the two countries will also be developed,” the minister said.

Nghia underlined that Vietnam is expanding its international integration with a focus on economic cooperation, so Vietnam is happy to welcome foreign investors and enterprises from New Zealand.

Air New Zealand said the new route represents the airline's "strong growth mode", and confidence about launching more new routes.

One of the passengers on the inaugural flight to Ho Chi Minh City, New Zealand's Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, said: “On this visit, beside education and tourism cooperation, we would like to share other specialties, especially New Zealand foods.”

Lemongrass chicken and black pepper beef were two of the traditional dishes on the menu for passengers on Air New Zealand's first flight to Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat International Airport.