Vietnam to get US permission for direct flights today

By Dat Nguyen   February 15, 2019 | 11:39 am GMT+7
Vietnam to get US permission for direct flights today
Vietnam receives Category 1 rating from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on February 15, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Kham

Vietnam is all set to receive permission to fly directly to the U.S., and Vietnam Airlines plans to launch four flights a week.

The U.S. embassy in Hanoi will deliver a Category 1 rating from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to Vietnam Friday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Transport’s website.

Vietnam Airlines CEO Duong Tri Thanh told local media that the carrier would begin with four flights a week to Los Angeles and later daily flights to the West Coast, which is home to a large Vietnamese community.

A Vietnam Airlines official, who asked not be named, told VnExpress International earlier that the airline is considering buying wide-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus 350-1000 or Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for the direct service.

Thanh said it would take at least five years for the direct service to the U.S. to break even, and there could be an annual loss of $30 million in the first few years.

Budget airline Vietjet and private airline Bamboo Airways have also said they are interested in operating direct flights to the U.S.

Direct services are expected to cater to the large demand for travel between the two countries. The number of Americans visiting Vietnam grew by 11.9 percent last year to 687,000, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

An ethnic Vietnamese population of over 2.1 million in the U.S. is also expected to be a steady source of travel demand, industry insiders said.

Vietnam’s aviation industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. There were 12.5 million air passengers last year, up 14.4 percent from 2017.

The number of flights in the country grew by 16 percent on average between 2010 and 2017, according to official data.

 
 
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