Vietnam’s tourism industry just got a big boost. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given its approval to Vietnam’s national air-safety system. The move means that Vietnamese airlines will now be able to fly to the United States. What’s more, Vietnam’s national carrier now plans to introduce new flights to California.
Vietnam has been awarded a Category 1 rating from the FAA. This means that the FAA believes that the country’s aviation standards meet the standards that have been set by the United Nations for pilot licensing and operational safety. The FAA’s findings are based on an assessment that was conducted in August of 2018. It was the first time that the FAA had ever assessed Vietnam’s aviation standards.
Vietnam Airlines has been hoping to bring flights to the West Coast of the United States for years. This is partly due to the fact that the West Coast is home to a large population of people with Vietnamese roots. Where will Vietnam Airlines fly once routes finally kick off? The airline is currently considering using San Francisco as its initial destination. A route between Ho Chi Minh City and San Francisco is likely to be the first route to the United States offered by the carrier.
Airlines in Vietnam aren’t just benefiting from the fact that they can now apply to fly to the United States for the first time. Vietnamese airlines now have the ability to enter into codeshare agreements with other airlines as a result of the new breakthrough. That means that airlines in Vietnam can book passengers from other airlines.
There’s no question that direct routes from Vietnam to the United States could boost Vietnam’s tourism industry in ways that have never been seen by the nation before. However, the competition that will be created could end up making it difficult for Vietnam Airlines to actually make any money on routes between the United States and California. There is no doubt that budget carriers will begin to try to capitalize on routes linking the West Coast and Vietnam now that the barrier to entry has been removed. However, carriers in Vietnam weren’t exactly pushing for permission to fly to the United States. That’s because most carriers essentially understand that these routes will very likely result in losses. It was the government of Vietnam that was really pushing for permission to fly to the United States. Being granted permission to fly to the United States has less to do with giving a boost to the Vietnamese airline industry and everything to do with creating political clout for the country.
American tourists will certainly be interested in at least trying out new routes that are offered to Vietnam from the West Coast. Tourism is huge in Vietnam right now. The nation’s overall economy is expanding by about 7 percent at the moment. That means that people living in Vietnam will also be willing to spend some of their newly found disposable income on flights to the United States. The main airport in Vietnam handled 106 million passengers last year. That figure was up about 13 percent from 2017.
[Source: Wikimedia/ USAFE AFAFRICA]