Hanoi-based Vietnam Airlines is resuming scheduled passenger flights to mainland Europe and the UK this week. The first flight, bound for London Heathrow, is postponed to Monday. Flights to Frankfurt and Moscow will follow later in the week. By February, Vietnam Airlines plans scheduled flights to four European airports.
Vietnam Airlines to London on Monday
Until COVID-19 curbed flights, Vietnam Airlines flew west to Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris and London. In March 2020, Vietnam Airlines suspended all international flights. Along with government-sponsored repatriations and charters, this week’s flights signal the return of Vietnam Airlines’ scheduled passenger flights to Europe.
On Monday, January 24, VN55 departs Hanoi Nội Bài International Airport for London Heathrow. An Airbus A350-900 will operate the flight and will take 12.5 hours to cover the 5,737 miles (9,233 kilometers) between the two cities.
On Tuesday, VN18 will leave London at noon for the return flight. But the Airbus will not go directly home. Instead, VN18 operates via Paris Charles de Gaulle. After two hours on the ground, the flight continues to Hanoi and lands at 9:55 a.m. Wednesday.
On Thursday, Vietnam Airlines resumed regular flights to Frankfurt. VN37 leaves Hanoi at 7:05 a.m. Thursday morning for the 12-hour, 15-minute flight west, landing at noon the same day.
The return flight, VN36, leaves Frankfurt later that afternoon. VN36 lands in Hanoi at 09:30 the next day. Vietnam Airlines’ Hanoi – Frankfurt – Hanoi flights are operated by Boeing 787-9.
An Airbus A350-900 will operate Vietnam Airlines’ weekly flight to London Heathrow. Photo: Airbus
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Vietnam Airlines takes off for Moscow on Friday
Finally, Vietnam Airlines takes off for Moscow this weekend. Late Friday evening, VN63 will depart Hanoi for the 10-hour, 45-minute flight to Moscow, where it will land in time for breakfast on Saturday morning.
After spending the day in Moscow, VN62 departs late Saturday evening for the return flight. A Boeing 787-9 is also operating Hanoi-Moscow-Hanoi flights, with the aircraft landing in Hanoi mid-morning the next day.
These flights will initially be weekly. Vietnam Airlines plans to lock schedules for the next few months in early February. Vietnam only resumed regular international flights from some countries on January 1.
Until then, Vietnam Airlines had operated repatriation flights and government-backed charter flights, including to Europe and the UK, to facilitate essential travel.
The Boeing 787-9s will fly Vietnam Airlines to Frankfurt and Moscow. Photo: Boeing
European flights overshadowed by the start of US flights from Vietnam Airlines
The resumption of regular Vietnam Airlines flights to Europe was overshadowed by the launch of flights to the United States. The inaugural flight, which landed in San Francisco in late November, was described by the airline as a “key development milestone”.
COVID-19 continues to challenge Vietnam’s phased reopening to travellers. European flights will initially serve overseas Vietnamese and other approved travellers. Entry bans for general tourism and foreigners traveling to Vietnam to visit family and friends remain in place.
This limits Vietnam Airlines’ international flight market, including those to and from Europe. Additionally, those eligible to enter Vietnam will be required to comply with a COVID-19 testing and self-isolation regime.
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