The airline has received permission for a variety of routes from its two largest hubs, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In the United States, the airline has permission to fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Dallas/Fort Worth. It also has permissions for onward travel to Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto in Canada. Vietnam Airlines is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, meaning that it will likely utilize the connecting network of partner Delta Air Lines (DL/DAL), which operates hubs at three of Vietnam Airlines’ potential destinations – Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. Should the airline launch flights to Canada, it will likely be able to utilize the network of WestJet (WS/WSJ), Canada’s second-largest airline. Vietnam Airlines has been given permission for operations to 25 destinations under codeshare agreements. The destinations can be arranged by the airline and its partners.

Due to the distance required to operate direct flights between Vietnam and the United States, Vietnam airlines will likely utilize a stopping point en-route to its destinations. The airline has been approved for fifth freedom flights between Vietnam, Taipei and the United States. This means that the airline is able to transport passengers directly between Taipei and the United States. The airline has also been approve to use Osaka and Nagoya, Japan as stopping points en-route to its United States destinations, however, it is not allowed to carry traffic between these Japanese destinations and the USA.

Vietnam Airlines will likely select the Boeing 787 for its United States flights, due to its efficiency and small size. However, the airline could also use the larger Airbus A350, mainly due to its efficiency on long-haul flights. Demand on the airline’s US-bound flights will likely be low at first, due to competition from established Asia-US carriers, as well as limited brand recognition in the United States. However, the airline could make the routes successful as it grows – the Los Angeles to Ho Chi Minh City route is one of the highest-demand unserved routes currently available due to a high Vietnamese population in the western United States.

By Zaref Anderson - Aeronautics Online Aviation - September 1st, 2019