The Hanoitimes - Vietnam Airlines will open direct routes to US, the first choice is an airport in San Francisco or Los Angeles in 2018.
Vietnam’s government has approved plans to expand its air network to major markets including Australia, China, Europe and the United States starting from this year.
Vietnam Airlines to open direct routes to US in 2018.
According to the plan, Vietnam Airlines will go through with its proposal to open non-stop services to the U.S., starting with direct flights to the west coast in 2018. The national carrier is considering between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
The U.S. proposal was revealed a couple of years ago and received much excitement, given busy travel between the countries. The U.S. is the fourth largest source of foreign visitors to Vietnam, with more than 614,000 people coming in 2017, up 11 percent from the previous year, according to the General Statistics Office.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus said in September 2016 that it had signed an MoU with Vietnam Airlines to deliver 10 A350-900 aircraft, which will be used for non-stop flights to the U.S. But the giant economy across the Pacific is just part Vietnam's sky plan.
According to Duong Tri Thanh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines Corporation, Vietnam Airlines is ready to open direct routes to the US when Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to meet standard of CAT1 from the US. Thanh is recognize this direct route may sustain loss in many year to come. However, planning for period 2016 – 2020, Vietnam Airlines to open direct routes to the US.
The government scheme will also seek to open direct routes to other potential markets such as the United Arab Emirates and South Africa in order to boost trade and tourism.
By 2020 Vietnamese airlines will open new routes from Vietnam’s Da Nang, Hai Phong, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Da Lat, Hue and Can Tho to Chinese cities of Chongqing, Dalian, Haikou, Wuhan, Ningbo, Hainan, Xi’an, Changchun, Fuzhou, Guilin, Guiyang, Harbin, Lanzhou, Shenyang, Xiamen, Xishuangbanna and Zhengzhou.
At the same time, more flights and wide-body aircraft will be put into use on flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Kunming and Chengdu.
For the Russian markets, Vietnamese airlines plan to open up new routes to Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, reopen the Nha Trang-Moscow route and increase the frequency of flights between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Moscow.
The development of these new direct routes is aligned with the tourism development so that by 2020 Vietnam will attract 17-20 million international tourists and the tourism sector will contribute 10-12% of GDP.
The country welcomed nearly 13 million foreign visitors and raked in nearly VND515 trillion ($22.7 billion) from tourism in 2017. It hopes the new air routes will bring the number of visitors up to 17 to 20 million in the next two years, when tourism money will contribute 10 to 12 percent to the economy, compared to the current 7 percent.