Vietnam Airlines obtains the first license for direct flights to the United States – Business

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Press (Agence France-Presse)

Hanoi, Vietnam ●
Thu, September 5, 2019

2019-09-05
6:00 p.m.
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Business
#Vietnam,#aviation,flight,United States,Ho-Chi-Minh-City
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Vietnam Airlines has become the first airline in the country to obtain a coveted license to fly directly to the United States, according to the airline and a regulatory filing seen by AFP.

Approval has been sought for months by Vietnamese carriers keen to tap into a rapidly growing market for air travel among Vietnam’s burgeoning middle class.

Domestic and regional air travel has surged among Vietnamese travellers, and carriers hope the market will expand to travel to the United States as well.

Vietnam Airlines has been cleared to fly from Hanoi and the southern business center of Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Dallas, according to a US Department of Transportation regulatory filing obtained by the AFP.

The carrier will also be able to connect to Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto in Canada, he added.

The conditions, which came into effect on August 26, cover “air transportation of people, goods and mail” between Vietnamese and North American cities.

It was not immediately clear whether the flights would be nonstop or transit through Taipei, Osaka and Nagoya, which were listed as approved intermediate hubs in the filing.

The national carrier confirmed the approval on Thursday, calling it “an important move by Vietnam Airlines in preparing its flight plan to the United States in the coming times.”

He did not say when the first flight could take off.

The regulations were announced after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration gave Vietnam a “Category 1” rating in February, meaning airlines in the country can fly to the United States.

Vietnam’s new airline Bamboo Airways has also said it plans to fly to the United States by the end of this year, with low-cost airline VietJet also showing interest.

Vietnam’s aviation sector has boomed in recent years, with passenger numbers jumping from 25 million in 2012 to 62 million last year.

Visits by tourists from the United States have also increased, jumping almost 60% in the past five years.

Aviation analyst Greg Waldron said entering the U.S. market is a big gamble for Vietnam Airlines, which will face stiff competition from established hub carriers in Taiwan, South Korea and in China.

Visa issues could also create obstacles – American and Vietnamese travelers need an entry permit to travel – as well as the high costs needed to make long-haul journeys.

“There are serious competitive and practical constraints that (Vietnam Airlines) faces,” said Waldron, Asia editor at Flightglobal.

Last year, Singapore Airlines launched the world’s longest direct flight with its route to Newark, New Jersey reaching 19 hours and 15,290 kilometers (9,500 miles).


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