- Vietnam Airlines to become the first carrier to operate regularly scheduled nonstop service from Vietnam to the US.
- The long flights begin November 28, though the airline’s CEO says the route will not be profitable anytime soon.
- The Boeing and Airbus aircraft used for the flights will not fly full due to weight restrictions.
After decades of interest in offering direct flights from Vietnam to the US, Vietnam Airlines is finally launching the first-ever regularly scheduled, nonstop passenger service from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco.
In a post on its official Facebook page on Tuesday, Vietnam Airlines revealed the historic flight will take off on November 28 using a Boeing 787-9 or Airbus A350 aircraft and will operate twice-weekly. The airline did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to Vietnamese media outlet VnExpress, CEO Le Hong Ha explained in a press conference in Hanoi that the company plans to increase flight frequencies to daily once COVID-19 is stabilized.
For travelers, the flight will be extremely long, with the eastbound journey taking 13 hours and 50 minutes and the westbound clocking in at 16 hours and 40 minutes. However, the flights would not fly full due to weight restrictions, leaving about 100 seats open.
At the time of publication, Vietnam’s flights are not yet bookable, though, according to VnExpress, Ha told reporters that economy fares would start at around $US1,000 ($AU1,377) roundtrip. Ha also explained that the route is not expected to make money for five to 10 years.
The decision to begin nonstop service between the two nations comes after years of discussions with US governing authorities. After clearing Vietnam as a Category 1 country in 2019, meaning the nation meets international standards of safety, the Federal Aviation Administration granted Vietnam Airlines permission to fly in the US. The airline held a ceremony in Hanoi, Vietnam on Tuesday where it was awarded its foreign air carrier certificate from the FAA.
“We needed to prepare hundreds of kilograms worth of paperwork to meet the US requirements,” Ha said at the press briefing.
Vietnam’s planned service means it beat out Bamboo Airways, another Vietnamese carrier that was aiming to become the first airline to offer regularly scheduled nonstop service between the countries.