Vietnam Airlines has partnered with Jetstar Pacific Airlines to offer travelers a wider selection of flight options between Vietnam and Japan.
The announcement came Thursday during a working visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Japan to seek opportunities for business cooperation between the two countries.
The two airlines held a joint ceremony in Osaka on Thursday announcing the launch of increased options on their flight routes between Vietnam and the Japanese city.
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines owns 70 percent of Jetstar Pacific Airlines, whereas Australia's Qantas Airways holds the remaining 30 percent.
During the ceremony, attended by PM Phuc and over 100 high ranking officials of the two countries, Vietnam Airlines announced the addition of state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners into the airline’s Hanoi-Osaka fleet.
The addition is a milestone in the airline’s pivot to using only Boeing 787s and Airbus A350-900 XWBs on their routes between Vietnam’s Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and Japan’s Tokyo and Osaka.
Vietnam Airlines boasts four-star service quality and high punctuality with the modern airliners.
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and high-ranking officials from Vietnam and Japan attend the events by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar Pacific in Osaka, Japan, June 8, 2017. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Meanwhile, Jetstar Pacific announced in the ceremony that they will be launching direct routes linking Hanoi and Da Nang with Osaka, becoming the first budget airline in Vietnam to operate direct flights to Japan.
The new route will launch in September and run four return trips every week from both Vietnamese cities using a 180-seat Airbus A320.
According to a Jetstar Pacific representative, the airline has finished all the paperwork for the route and is waiting for approval from local authorities.
Tickets for the route are expected to be on sale as early as the middle of this month, starting at VND1.5 million (US$66) before taxes, airport fees, and other promotional prices.
A tourist hotspot
Over 1.1 million passengers traveled between Vietnam and Japan by air in 2016, a number expected to grow by 17 percent to 1.3 million this year.
According to travel agencies and tour operators, Japan is likely to remain a popular destination for Vietnamese tourists in the years to come.
Last year, Vietnam welcomed 740,000 Japanese visitors, a ten-percent increase from the 2015, according to statistics from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Around 233,000 Vietnamese tourists visited Japan the same year, 26 percent more than in 2015, according to the same source.
The authority predicts that as many as 500,000 Vietnamese travelers will land in Japan in 2018.
Vietnamese tourists learn about waste sorting and recycling in Japan. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tourism companies assert that the cheaper airfares will play a crucial part in boosting the bilateral flow of tourists, while travel agencies will also have more options to include in their tour packages.
“With an average annual growth rate of 12 percent over the past five years, Japan has consistently remained in Vietnam’s top five aviation markets and one that plays a strategic role in Vietnam Airlines’ long-term development goals,” said Duong Tri Thanh, CEO of Vietnam Airlines.
“The commission of Boeing 787 Dreamliners into our Hanoi-Osaka fleet and the launch of Jetstar Pacific’s direct flights to Japan will satisfy the high and diverse demands of travelers and businesspeople between the two countries.”
The state-owned airline is currently the largest carrier operating direct flights between Vietnam and Japan.
Vietnam Airlines operates 70 direct flights per week on ten regular routes between Vietnam’s Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang and Japan’s Haneda, Narita, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Since its first Japan flight took off in 1994, Vietnam Airlines has transported ten million passengers between the countries, accounting for 65 percent of the Vietnam-Japan market.
A Vietnamese tourist (R) poses for a photo with a Japanese ninja at a ninja village in Japan. Photo: Tuoi Tre