Vietnam Airlines Secures License For Direct US Flights
Sep 05, 2019

Vietnam Airlines has been allowed by the US Federal Aviation Administration to operate direct flights from Hanoi and Saigon to several US destinations. It is the first Vietnamese airline to receive such permission, according to FlightGlobal, a leading news site about the global aviation community.

The national flag carrier will be allowed to operate flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth. It can also continue these routes to the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. The permit also allows Vietnam Airlines to operate its flights to the US via stops in Taiwan’s Taipei and Japan’s Osaka and Nagoya airports.

The US Federal Aviation Administration granted a Category 1 rating to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam under its International Aviation Safety Assessment programme, which meant the latter met safety standards to operate flights to the US.

The terms, which came into effect on August 26, cover “air transportation of persons, property and mail” between the Vietnamese and North American cities. Vietnam Airlines has not set a date for the first flight, though.

Besides Vietnam Airlines, low-cost air carrier Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways are preparing to launch direct flights to the US and are ordering aircraft for the purpose.

There are currently no nonstop flights between Vietnam and the US. Flights now take 20.5 hours to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco via South Korea’s Incheon International Airport, while the planned direct service to major cities along the US West Coast would take only around 13 hours.

Thanks to simplified visa requirements, Vietnam has emerged among the fastest-growing international travel destinations for US citizens, who are big spenders in the country, shelling out on average $3,233 per trip, according to a survey released last year by travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.

Americans are among the top foreign visitors to Vietnam, with 687,226 arrivals last year, an 11-per cent year-on-year increase. An ethnic Vietnamese population of over 2.1 million in the U.S. is also expected to be a steady source of travel demand.