Currently, Vietnam's national flagship carrier flies to the U.S. three or four times a week. The airline plans to increase the number of flights during the upcoming Christmas and Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays.
On November 28, 2021, its first direct flight from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco took off on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
The flight sets a milestone not only for the airline itself, but also for Vietnam's aviation industry after 20 years of trying to meet the stringent requirements to open the route.
According to a Vietnam Airlines executive, the route carried more than 60,000 passengers last year, with an average occupancy rate of 72 percent.
In addition to passengers, these flights also carried hundreds of metric tons of goods, including important Vietnamese commodities such as agricultural products, garments, and textiles.
In particular, the issuance of the license to operate Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft with extended flight time of 207 minutes and 240 minutes, respectively, allows Vietnam Airlines to be more flexible in its routes to the U.S.
Thanks to the extended permit, Vietnam Airlines can shorten flight times, reduce fuel consumption, lower operating costs, and improve the airline's competitiveness against major competitors in the industry.
Although the route is very promising, it is a big challenge for the national carrier to continue operating it regularly.
In addition to the plan to increase the number of flights during the Christmas and Tet holidays, Vietnam Airlines is working to exploit as many potential benefits of the direct flight route between Vietnam and the U.S. as possible, according to a Vietnam Airlines representative.
According to a survey by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the price of a one-way ticket on the Ho Chi Minh City - San Francisco route in December 2022 ranges from VND26 million (US$1,050) to VND41 million ($1,655).