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Vietnam, U.S discuss collaboration for the direct flights

Malie Nguyen Malie Nguyen

Dieuhuong270198@gmail.com

April 21, 2021 | 09:56

More than 80 state-owned and private enterprises from Vietnam and the US discussed cooperative opportunities at a recent virtual conference as both sides are making preparations for the launch of direct flights between the two countries.

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Leading US firms such as Autodesk, Boeing, Collins, Aerospace, Haskell, Honeywell, Mitre, Rapiscan, JBT Aerotech, Turner Construction, and Tyco Security, among others, shared experience and solutions in airport development, as well as highlighted opportunities to boost the Vietnam-US collaboration in this field.

At the event, the US Federal Aviation Administration, the US Transportation Security Administration, the US Department of Commerce, and the US Trade Development Agency said they would work closely with the Vietnamese sides to develop a safe and effective air transportation system.

The US agencies are working to provide technical and financial support for the Vietnamese side.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) and Airport Corporation of Vietnam (ACV) shared information on Vietnam’s aviation infrastructure development plans, Vietnamplus reported.

Earlier, Bamboo Airways was licensed by the US Department of Transportation to carry passengers and cargo between Vietnam and the US. It will use a wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to fly directly from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City to international airports in the US.

Vietnam, U.S discuss collaboration for the direct flights
Vietnamese airlines are preparing to launch direct flights to the US. (Photo: VNA)

Experts evaluated the market potential between the two countries as at about 700,000 passengers per year, while only 30,000 – 60,000 passengers per year are needed to open the direct flight.

In terms of legal aspects, in 2003, Vietnam and the US signed an aviation agreement that allows carriers of the two countries to operate direct flights with a frequency of one flight per day or fly over to a transition country before departing from the US.

In 2010, the CAAV reviewed and reassessed the agreement, concluding there are no restrictions or obstacles on passengers, flight frequency to apply for permission to open flights connecting Vietnam and the US.

And after 10 years of effort, in early 2019, the CAAV obtained the US CAT-1 certificate. This is a prerequisite for Vietnamese airlines to apply for permits to fly to the US and to codeshare with US airlines. The FAA will continue to evaluate the capacity of each Vietnamese carrier.

The Vietnam Airlines Company Limited’s Board of Directors also approved a plan on conducting direct flights with the United States.

According to Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier has operated 12 flights bringing Vietnamese citizens home from the US since May 2020 as a result of travel restrictions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

No more such flights from the US have been available since last August as the quota set by US authorities has been reached, despite the tremendous demand from Vietnamese people in the US wishing to return home. For this reason, Vietnam Airlines plans to seek permission for repatriation flights in the form of regular commercial services.

Vietnam, U.S discuss collaboration for the direct flights
A plane of Vietnam Airlines (Photo: VNA)

Given the latest forecast that it will take until at least 2023 for the aviation industry to recover to the pre-pandemic level in 2019, Vietnam Airlines hopes the move will help it increase revenue and lessen financial loss caused by the COVID-19.

The plan will be carried out in two phases. In the first phase, the carrier will conduct flights in the form of regular commercial services, serving the repatriation of Vietnamese people in the US, and travel demand between the two countries among diplomats, officials, experts, business people, students, and relatives of foreigners.

Based on evaluation of the recovery of air travel between the two countries after the pandemic is under control, Vietnam Airlines will continue with its plan on the second phase which is for commercial purposes. The second phase is expected to start in 2022.

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Malie Nguyen