Vietnam Airlines has outlined plans to launch flights in October.
Vietnam Airlines is finally ready to press ahead with flights to the US which has been on their mind for around two decades. Even with the plague of the Delta variant, the airline still plans to fly its Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 on the inaugural route, which is bound for San Francisco from Ho Chi Minh City, according to Bloomberg’s interview with the CEO Le Hong Ha.
Vietnam Airlines has 787-9, 787-10 and A350-900s in its fleet, and A350 whose published range is 8,100 NM, can make the trip from Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) to San Francisco Airport (SFO) which has a direct Great Circle distance of 6,811 NM.
The launch can be traced back to Category 1 FAA rating in 2009.
A Category 1 FAA rating means Vietnam’s civil aviation meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards and the flag carrier of Vietnam has been approved to operate a direct route to the US west coast. Vietnam Airlines first tried to get Category 1 approval in 2004, and finally secured the permission after involving several lengthy processes to comply with the most stringent standards.
The outbreak of COVID-19 poses a change to the October launch.
In the autumn of 2019, Vietnam Airlines was closely launching the US service, but then the pandemic emerged. Without a doubt, Vietnam Airlines has been the most badly affected of all the Vietnamese carriers, suffering a loss of $308 million in the first half of this year.
Nevertheless, Vietnam Airlines has confidence that it is the right time to fly to the US, and has planned to operate a series of 12 repatriation flights with its A350s and 787s this year.