Vietnam-US direct flights boost economy, cultural exchange: Diplomat

The launch of a direct air route between Vietnam and the US is an important milestone reflecting the strong growth of the bilateral relations and helping boost Vietnam’s economy and cultural exchange, said Vietnamese Deputy Consul General in San Francisco Hoang Huu Anh.

The Vietnam-US air link was very promising, Anh told Vietnam News Agency following the launch of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines’ first direct service between the two countries at San Francisco International Airport on November 29 (Hanoi time). The event also marked the first time a Vietnamese airline had operated a direct flight to the US.

Some 1.4 million people travelled between Vietnam and the US in 2019, with an annual growth of 8% from 2017 – 2019, he cited.

Non-stop flights will facilitate travel by the two countries' people amid growing demand, the diplomat said, adding there has been an increase in businesses wishing to travel between the two countries to seek opportunities in trade and investment, not to mention a large number of Vietnamese students and expats living in the US as well as American tourists interested in visiting Vietnam after COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

He pointed out that in addition to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle are also very potential destinations to set up transit points for the direct service in the US as they are home to large Vietnamese communities.

Vietnam Airlines is operating two regular direct flights each week between HCM City and San Francisco and plans to increase the frequency to seven flights a week once the pandemic is under control.

All flights between Vietnam and the US are carried out by Vietnam Airlines' most modern wide-body fleet, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

Vietnam's aviation industry and Vietnam Airlines have prepared for 20 years to open a regular air route to the US. The scheme officially completed on November 4 this year after the national flag carrier officially received a permit from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate non-stop commercial flight service between the two countries.