US grants Vietnam permission for direct flights

Vietnam Airlines is planning to launch four-times-weekly flights to Los Angeles

With the US set to permit direct flights from Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines has announced plans to launch four-times-weekly flights to Los Angeles.

The US embassy in Hanoi was to deliver a Category 1 rating from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to Vietnam on Friday (February 15) afternoon, according to the Ministry of Transport’s website.

Vietnam Airlines is planning to launch four-times-weekly flights to Los Angeles

The approval comes ahead of the upcoming meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, scheduled for February 27 and 28.

Officials from North Korea and the US began arriving in Hanoi on Saturday (February 16) in preparation for the widely watched summit.

A VnExpress report quoted Vietnam Airlines CEO Duong Tri Thanh as saying that the carrier would begin with four flights a week to Los Angeles, followed by daily flights to the US West Coast, home to a large Vietnamese community.

A Vietnam Airlines official had previously told VnExpress International that the airline is considering buying wide-body aircraft such as the Airbus 350-1000 or Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner for the direct service.

Duong said it would take at least five years for the direct service to the US to break even.

Budget airline Vietjet and private airline Bamboo Airways have also expressed interest in operating direct flights, although concrete details of their plans were not available at press time.

Citing figures from the Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, VnExpress shared that the number of Americans visiting Vietnam grew by 11.9 per cent last year to 687,000.

An ethnic Vietnamese population of over 2.1 million in the US is also expected to provide a steady source of travel demand, industry insiders told VnExpress.

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