Vietnam Airlines ran its inaugural flight on the direct route to Heathrow Airport in London, the UK on March 31.
|Passengers pose for a photo before boarding Vietnam Airlines' first direct flight from Heathrow to Vietnam (Photo: VNA)|
Speaking at the event, Managing Director of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye said Vietnam has become an attractive destination for tourism and business and that the switch from Gatwick airport to Heathrow will secure regular direct flights from the UK to a vital emerging market.
Head Representative of Vietnam Airlines in the UK Le Thanh Dung highlighted that Vietnam Airlines’ customers now can benefit from a world-class facility and its premium connection.
The switch is expected to help the Vietnamese flagship carrier meet the increasing demand for flights from foreign countries to Vietnam and the Indochina region, Dung said.
Dung asserted the airlines will work closely with Heathrow and other partners in the UK airline industry to bridge tourism and trade between the two countries.
Beginning in the second quarter of 2015, Vietnam Airlines will use its new fleet of B787 and A350 to operate five to six weekly services from Heathrow to Hanoi and HCM City. The carrier has also launched a programme to increase its service quality and become the major carrier in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam Airlines carried 90,803 passengers on return flights between Vietnam and the UK in 2014, a surge from its first direct flight to the European country in late 2011.
Vietnam Airlines joined the SkyTeam Alliance on June 10, 2010. It is currently operating 96 routes to 21 domestic destinations and 29 international destinations with a capacity of over 300 flights a day.
Heathrow is the busiest airport in Europe and the third busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. In 2014, it handled a record 73.4 million passengers.
Intense demand at Heathrow prolonged the agreement between the airport and Vietnam Airlines, which took seven years to complete. There are currently 30 airlines waiting for slots.