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Vietnam Airlines to fly non-stop to Los Angeles with Airbus planes

GBS - The carrier has ordered 10 new wide-body A350s for direct services to the U.S.

National carrier Vietnam Airlines is planning non-stop services to the U.S., starting with flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles using new wide-body aircraft, according to aircraft provider Airbus.

A press release from the French manufacturer this month said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnamese flag carrier to deliver 10 more A350-900 aircraft, which will be used for non-stop flights to the U.S.

At 8,169 miles, the new route between Tan Son Nhat Airport and LAX is a bit shorter than the world’s current longest A350 route of 8,446 miles, between Singapore and San Francisco.

Last year, Vietnam Airlines put the first four A350 XWB aircraft into use, each able to carry 305 passengers.

Duong Tri Thanh, president and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, said the fuel efficient planes are suitable for the carrier’s plans of intercontinental routes to Europe and the U.S.

The specific timeline for the new service has not been revealed. Sources said it might be followed with flights to San Francisco, Washington and Vancouver.

Vietnam Airlines previously announced plans to fly to the U.S. in 2018.

The country’s top carrier posted a pretax profit of nearly VND1.6 trillion ($71.7 million) in the first six months this year, up around 58 percent from a year ago. It served 9.65 million passengers, 40.8 percent of the total number for all Vietnamese airlines.

There are more than 1.7 million people of Vietnamese heritage living in the U.S., and around half of them in California.

U.S. tourists are increasingly intersted in Vietnam as a destination. The country approved one-year visas for U.S. visitors earlier this year. It aims to draw 1 million tourists from the U.S. by 2017.

Trade relations between the countries have also been growing in recent years, from about $220 million in 1994 to $45.1 billion in 2015.

- VNExpress

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