Bamboo Airways announced earlier this week that it will soon commence Vietnam’s first-ever direct flight to the United Kingdom. The move comes just a month after the airline launched its historic direct Hanoi-San Francisco flight.
In a ceremony attended by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Edinburgh, Bamboo Airways chairman Trinh Van Quyet said that the direct flights could start before 2021 ends.
The airline said it plans to offer six weekly non-stop services with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner between Heathrow Airport in London and two of Vietnam’s biggest airports, Noi Bai in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City. Bamboo Airways said it may increase frequency to daily service in 2022. The direct flights will cut travel time between Vietnam and the UK to 12-13 hours, or about seven hours shorter than the transit ones.
Ahead of the launch, the airline appointed APG, a passenger and cargo company, as its official representative in London. APG will assist the airline with sales and marketing, as well as customer support.
“We are delighted to be representing Bamboo Airways in the UK and are looking forward to welcoming their first scheduled flight to London Heathrow," said Richard Burgess, president of APG. “With the gradual opening of international travel and the wealth of tourism opportunities that Vietnam has to offer, we believe this is an excellent opportunity to launch new services.”
Bamboo Airways’ significant milestones this year indicate the start of the recovery of the aviation and tourism industries, which the COVID-19 pandemic has both critically trampled.
Opening direct flights between the two counties would contribute to commerce and people-to-people exchanges. According to the General Statistics Office, the number of British tourists to Vietnam reached more than 300,000 in 2019, before the pandemic forced countries to shut their borders. The office added that over 100,000 Vietnamese are studying and living in the UK, with around 60% of them based in London.
The United Kingdom is one of Vietnam’s strategic partners — from health and education assistance to free trade agreements. In 2020, the two countries signed an FTA that eliminates 99.2% of tariff lines to Vietnam’s imports. The UK was also one of the first countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines to the Southeast Asian nation.