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May 09, 2020 / 12:43

Vietnam operates first direct flight to US to repatriate citizens

This is the first time a Vietnamese airline operated a direct commercial flight to the US.

Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, has operated the first direct flight to the US to repatriate its citizens after days of waiting for the license by American authorities.

 Vietnam Airlines aircraft at San Fransisco International Airport on May 8. Photo: SFO

San Fransisco International Airport wrote on its Facebook “Today is a historic day at SFO as we welcomed the very first Vietnam Airlines passenger flight to the United States. This repatriation flight is being operated on one of Vietnam Airlines new Boeing 787-10 aircraft. SFO is proud to welcome this special flight!” 

 Passengers landed in Vietnam on May 8. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

Flight VN01 from San Fransisco to Hanoi carrying more than 340 Vietnamese nationals landed in Van Don International Airport in the northern province of Quang Ninh on May 8 evening.

The returning people include children under 18, elderly, peope with critical diseases, and students whose dormitories closed due to the pandemic.

 Passengers arrived in Van Don airport. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

On the way to the US, the airline brought back a number of American nationals.

 Passengers check in at San Fransisco International Airport. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

This was the first direct commercial flight to the US carried out by a Vietnamese airline with a distance of 25,000 km flown in 33 hours.

 Crewmembers for the flight. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

Vietnam Airlines said it used its most modern aircraft, Boeing 787-10, and a group of 28 crewmembers (eight pilots, 16 attendants, two technicians, and two ground staff), doubling that for a flight. The experienced pilots were those who flew Vietnam Airlines’ first Boeing 787-9 and 787-10 airplanes to Vietnam from the US in 2015 and 2019.

 General Director of Vietnam Airlines Duong Tri Thanh. Photo: Vietnam Airlines

General Director of Vietnam Airlines Duong Tri Thanh met the crewmember before the flight and wished them a safe flight.

Before, Vietnam Airlines, at a request by the government of Vietnam, had taken dozens of flights to repatriate nearly 2,000 of Vietnamese citizens.

Vietnam Airlines has been mulling over direct commercial flights to the US. The airline representatives said it’s totally capable of making the flights but economic feasibility remains the biggest challenge.