|An aircraft of Vietnam Airlines takes off at Noi Bai International Airport
The FAA has awarded the country with the Category 1 (CAT 1) rating, which means air carriers from the country may initiate or continue services to the US and take part in reciprocal codeshare arrangements with US carriers.
After the announcement, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, budget airline Vietjet Air, and newcomer Bamboo Airways have expressed their desires to fly to the US.
There are currently no direct flights between the two countries, despite a large market catering to tourism and visits by friends and relatives. All passengers must transit in another country or territory such as China, Hong Kong, or Japan.
Data from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) showed the country’s rapidly growing aviation market saw an average increase of 16 percent in traffic each year from 2010 to 2017.
Vietnam has been recently named among the top ten hot destinations for US travellers in 2019 by the US Tour Operators Association (USTOA).
The number of Americans visiting the country grew by 11.9 percent last year to 687,000, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.