Vietnam Airlines saw its net loss for the third quarter widen to 3.5 trillion dinars ($154 million) from 3 billion dinars a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic continued to weigh on its performance .
After-tax losses for the three months to September 30 also widened, reaching 2.8 trillion dinars from 2.5 trillion dinars a year earlier, according to the airline’s results.
Revenues fell 37.6% to 4.7 trillion dinars.
The carrier attributed its weaker performance to the continued challenge of Covid-19, which all but halted international travel to Vietnam. The country’s domestic market was also hit in mid-2021 due to an outbreak of the more infectious Delta variant, which penetrated the country’s previously successful zero-covid strategy.
In addition, the carrier announced its first direct flight to the United States, operated with a Boeing 787-9.
The service, from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco, marks the start of bi-weekly service to the US city, using both 787s and Airbus A350s.
Eventually, the airline aims to operate daily flights on the route once the “pandemic is under control” and also aims to link Los Angeles with Hanoi and Hoi Chi Minh City.
Like Vietnam Airlines, its competitor Bamboo Airways has previously operated charter services on direct routes to the United States. It also aims to launch direct hourly services to the United States.
The United States is a key destination for Vietnamese carriers due to the large Vietnamese diaspora there.