Vietnam Airlines to open direct flights to US in 2018

By    August 17, 2016 | 01:35 am PT
Vietnam Airlines to open direct flights to US in 2018
A security guard cycles near an Airbus A350-900 aircraft during its delivery ceremony at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi July 2, 2015. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Prolonged layovers between Vietnam and the United States might soon be a thing of the past.

National carrier Vietnam Airlines is readying itself to open direct flights to the United States in 2018, its Chief Executive Officer Duong Tri Thanh has said.

Vietnam Airlines started making preparations for the route 10 years ago, Thanh was quoted by Vietnam News Agency as saying on Wednesday. He added that the carrier has focused on enhancing the long-haul flying experience for passengers by expanding its fleet with larger airplanes, including Airbus 350 – 900s and Boeing B787 Dreamliners.

Vietnamese airlines must meet CAT1 requirements set by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which are specifically for non-stop flights to the U.S. Under the requirements, the air carriers from the assessed state may initiate or continue service to the United States in a normal manner and take part in reciprocal code-share arrangements with U.S. carriers. according to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.

Vietnamese aviation authorities and Boeing last year signed an agreement in which the U.S. airplane manufacturer pledged, through technical and training assistance, to help Vietnamese aviation officials reach CAT1 standards.

Based on CAT1 requirements, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will decide which foreign airlines are allowed to operate direct flights to the U.S.

Visitors from the U.S. to Vietnam during the first six months of the year increased 14.5 percent from a year earlier to roughly 300,000, accounting for 6 percent of total international arrivals to the Southeast Asian country in that period.

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