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Vietnam Airlines expanding international air routes

posted Jul 19, 2011, 11:45 PM by Dong Travel   [ updated Jul 19, 2011, 11:48 PM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
The national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines has decided to accept losses with launching direct air routes to the US. Meanwhile, Jetstar Pacific and Indochina Airlines are also moving ahead with their plans to provide international flights.

According to Vo Huy Cuong, Head of the Air Transport Division of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV), to date, more than 40 international airlines have provided flights to Vietnam, while Vietnam only has one carrier – Vietnam Airlines – which is capable to provide international flights.

However, the situation will change soon when domestic air carriers are planning to fly internationally.

Opening direct air routes to UK, US

Vietnam Airlines has said that after a preparation period, the air carrier has completed necessary procedures to open the direct air route to the UK, scheduled for the last months of the year.

If this comes true, this will be its fourth direct air route to Europe. The other three include the ones from Hanoi/HCM City to Moscow (Russia), to Paris (France) and Frankfurt (Germany).

The destination for Vietnam Airlines in the UK is Gatwick airport, located 46 kilometers south of London, which is listed among the 10 biggest airports in the world. As such, Vietnam Airlines will be the first and the only air carrier which develops the direct route between Vietnam and the UK. It is expected that Vietnam Airlines will provide four flights a week with Boeing 777, while the number of flights would increase to seven per week from 2014.

According to TransViet, the official booking agent of many international airlines in Vietnam, about 10 international airlines are developing the air route between Vietnam and the UK. There have been not many sale promotion campaigns applied to the air route, but the air tickets are really competitive.

The airlines which have become familiar on the route from Vietnam to the UK are British Airways, Polish LOT, Thai Airways, and Singapore Airline. However, all the airlines arrange one point of transit in their itineraries. Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines set two points of transit in Bangkok and Dubai.

The US is really considered an important market for Vietnam Airlines. In the latest news, the Federal Aviation Administration FAA will test the flight safety monitoring capability in accordance with IASA International Air & Shipping Association. If CAAV can meet the requirements of the test, the official assessment will be carried out later, which allows the authority to grant licenses to Vietnam Airlines to open direct flights to the US.

In the first period of providing direct flights to the US, Vietnam Airlines foresees that it would incur the loss of 20 million dollars a year, the highest loss level in comparison with other international air routes.

CAAV has said that Vietnam is determined to open the direct air route to the US, not only aiming to a commercial purpose, but also aiming to polish the brand, because the US is considered the hardest market in the world.

In order to mark one’s name in the world’s aviation map, a nation has to successfully invite the US’ airlines to open air routes to the countries, while the countries have to have the airlines capable to provide flights to the US.

The aviation agreement between Vietnam and the US was inked 10 years ago, but to date, only the US has had airlines opening air routes to Vietnam. In 2007, Vietnam Airlines asked the US authorities to grant license to provide flights from HCM City to Los Angeles in California. However, the air carrier later had to withdraw, because CAAV was not ready for the flight safety monitoring capability test.

Other airlines plan to fly soon

In the past, Pacific Airlines (now Jetstar Pacific) once provided flights to Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan. However, the air carrier has stopped providing flights to the destinations when it was restructured.

However, the budget airline now attempts to resume the flights to Taiwan.

Among private airlines, VietJet Air is the only air carrier which has the right to provide international flights when it has the legal capital of 500 billion dong. However, the airline has not become operational yet.

In a recent statement, General Director of Indochina Airlines, Ha Dung said that the airline plans to raise the legal capital to 500 billion dong in order to obtain the right to fly internationally.

Source: NLD