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Nov 02, 2021 / 15:06

First Vietnamese airline okayed for regular nonstop flights to US

The historic flight is expected to take off in late November.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines has received a permit from US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to operate regular commercial services to the US, making it the first Vietnamese airline to do so.

 Vietnam Airlines, the first Vietnamese carrier meets security requirements by TSA for scheduled nonstop flights to the US. Photo: Vietnam Airlines  

Vietnam Airlines reported that it has met all TSA security requirements, and those stipulated in the United States Codes, and Code of Federal Regulations which are listed among the most important conditions required for a foreign airline to fly regularly to the US.

The carrier is now waiting for permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Once it receives FAA approval, it will fly from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Cho Minh City to San Francisco International Airport in California in late November 2021.

Vietnam Airlines and Vietnam’s private airline Bamboo Airways both have permits for charter flights to the US, but not regular services.

The national flag carrier was requested by the Ministry of Transport in 2003 to begin direct services to the US by 2005. But concerns about profitability delayed them until now.

The FAA has granted the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) a Category 1 rating under its International Aviation Safety Assessment program, which means the authority meets standards for personnel licensing, operations, and airworthiness, according to Nikkei Asia.

The Category 1 rating will allow Vietnamese carriers equipped to secure US authorization to start flying directly to the US.

Nonstop US-bound flights will shorten the travel time by about eight hours. Flights now take roughly 20 hours to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco via South Korea’s Incheon International Airport.

The US is home to more than two million Vietnamese Americans.

In addition, in 2019, before Covid-19 flared up globally, the US ranked as Vietnams fourth-largest source of international visitors, following China, South Korea, and Japan. Meanwhile, the number of visitors from Vietnam to the US topped 100,000.

The nonstop flights will pay the way for a new era of economic ties between the Southeast Asian country and its biggest export market.