Vietnam Airlines has announced plans to launch its first regularly scheduled flights to the US before the end of the month.
According to reports from the VN Express and the state news outlet, Vietnam Airlines will launch non-stop flights from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco on November 28. The airline will use its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A350-900 aircraft on the route, which will operate initially on a twice-weekly schedule.
In a recent press briefing, Vietnam Airlines CEO Le Hong Ha stated that services on the route could be increased to seven weekly when the pandemic situation is under control.
Aside from the recent report, the national airline of Vietnam announced on its Twitter account it has officially received its permit for the Vietnam-US flights.
With a scheduled time of 13 hours and 50 minutes (Ho Chi Minh-San Francisco) and 16 hours and 40 minutes (San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh), the routes will be the longest on Vietnam Airlines' network.
Vietnam Airlines will beat out Bamboo Airways in being the first Vietnam-based carrier to launch direct flights to the US. Both airlines have operated special flights between Vietnam and the US for cargo and repatriation purposes during the pandemic.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, discussions for direct air links between Vietnam and the US has been ongoing since the early 2000s In 2003, Vietnam's Ministry of Transport issued a directive for Vietnam Airlines to start flights to the US by 2005. However, the flights have been shelved due to concerns of profitability of the services.