Promising Higher Skies
It seems that Hanoi has decided to come out of the shadow of the Vietnam War (1955-75), as far as its relation with Washington DC is concerned. In a rare first, a Vietnamese aircraft landed in the US in the last week of November 2021. Hanoi confirmed the news, saying in a statement that the inaugural flight of Vietnam Airlines, VN98 (a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner), arrived in San Francisco from Ho Chi Minh City with hundreds of passengers on board.
According to the statement, the route marked the culmination of Vietnam Airlines’ two-decade-long-effort to get the route. Le Hong Ha, the Chief Executive of Vietnam Airlines, stressed: “Vietnam Airlines was so proud of being the country’s first airline to conduct the charter flight to the US more than a year ago to welcome compatriots back to the homeland.” He added: “Today, we are very pleased to announce the success of the inaugural commercial direct flight to the country, marking a new milestone for Vietnam Airlines in particular and Vietnam’s aviation in general.”
Meanwhile, Vietnam Airlines has planned to fly two flights per week from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco. The Chief Executive stated that a Boeing 787 and an Airbus A350 would carry passengers between Vietnam and the US, and back. Gradually, the number of daily flights between the two countries would be increased. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Vietnam Airlines has decided to postpone its plan to open new routes, connecting Los Angeles to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
For his part, Ivar Satero, the Director of San Francisco Airport, said: “We are so honoured to be the first airport in the US to offer non-stop regular flights to Vietnam.” He stressed: “This new service truly makes San Francisco Airport the premier US gateway airport, and we are proud to offer a world-class experience with seamless access throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.”
It may be noted that the bilateral diplomatic ties were not so cordial because of the decades-long war between the two countries. The South-east Asian nation snapped ties with the US after the end of the War in 1975. However, the changing Global Geopolitical landscape has prompted Vietnam to tweak its foreign policy.
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