Vietnam Air expected to launch direct service to U.S. next year
The Saigon Times Daily
A passenger takes a selﬁe next to a Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner jetliner at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCMC. Vietnam Airlines is expected to kick off direct service to the United States next year - PHOTO: PHAM VU
HCMC - Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, is expected to kick off direct service to the United States next year after the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) gains Category 1 approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), probably next month.
The airline’s plan for flying direct to the U.S. has been in the making for more than a decade. Vietnamese commercial airlines cannot operate direct flights to America if CAAV lacks Category 1 safety approval from FAA.
Duong Tri Thanh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines, is quoted by Vietnamnet.vn news website as saying his carrier would look into FAA’s safety credential for CAAV before it decides on direct service to the U.S., which he said might start late next year.
More than two years ago CAAV and Boeing signed a deal in Hanoi, in which the U.S. plane manufacturer would help the Vietnam side gain Category 1 approval from FAA.
To expand its international flight network, Vietnam Airlines has put in service new modern jetliners Airbus A350-900 XWB and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. In its 2016-2020 business development plan, the airline would fly direct to the U.S. West Coast, with San Francisco or Los Angeles being weighed as its destination.
Vietnam Airlines now operates codeshare flights to the U.S. with seven weekly services to 25 American destinations. Passengers who buy tickets at Vietnam Airlines can fly with the airline in one leg before they fly on with either China Airlines via Taipei (Taiwan) or Delta Airlines via Narita (Japan), Haneda (Japan) or Frankfurt (Germany).
The Vietnamnet.vn report quoted CAAV chief Lai Xuan Thanh as saying that his aviation agency had got ready for a technical review by the U.S. side, which could take place next month. If everything is fine, FAA would decide, under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, whether CAAV’s oversight of its air carriers that fly direct to the U.S. complies with safety standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).