A Vietnam Airlines flight from Canada repatriated 250 Vietnamese nationals to Da Nang Airport in the namesake city on Thursday, a representative of the national carrier said.
The flight, numbered VN8, landed at Da Nang Airport at 1:40 pm after an 18-hour journey from Canada’s Toronto Pearson Airport and a technical stop in Japan.
It was the result of months-long negotiations between Vietnam Airlines, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vietnamese Embassy in Canada, and relevant Canadian agencies.
In 2020, Vietnam Airlines was the only carrier in Vietnam to be awarded a permit from Canadian authorities to operate repatriation flights from the North American country.
However, the certificate expired after just four months.
In June 2021, the permit was reissued to the flagship carrier after it passed a rigorous vetting process that required it to prove its flight operation, aircraft maintenance, ground service, human training, and COVID-19 prevention capacities to Transport Canada.
The entire process took around six months, the airline shared.
For the first repatriation flight from Canada this year, Vietnam Airlines mobilized a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft.
The carrier also upheld coronavirus prevention level 4 – the highest level of COVID-19 prevention – requiring full PPE donning on all flight attendants and passengers.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Vietnam in early 2020, the country has closed it borders to all international entries except for foreign experts, investors, diplomats, and Vietnamese repatriates.
The Vietnamese prime minister has ordered local airlines to arrange flights to bring Vietnamese citizens abroad back into the country, but they must be quarantined at military-run facilities and other designated venues before they can enter the community.