Vietnam Airlines launching twice-weekly flights to the U.S.

Vietnam Airlines will launch the first regularly scheduled service between the U.S. and Vietnam on Nov. 28. 

The twice-weekly flight will connect San Francisco with Ho Chi Minh City, Cirium flight schedule data shows.

The launch will come as the large majority of Vietnam remains closed to the tourism market. Only Phu Quoc Island to the west of mainland Vietnam is open to visitors on a trial basis. In addition, pre-approved foreigners are allowed entry, primarily for business purposes, but a seven-day quarantine is required. 

A San Francisco Airport spokesman declined to comment on the route, citing the wishes of Vietnam Airlines to handle all inquiries. The carrier could not immediately be reached for comment. A search for San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh City flights on the Vietnam Airlines website also did not yield results.

However, Vietnam Airlines general director Le Hong Ha confirmed the new route on Tuesday in an interview with Vietnam’s VN Express online newspaper, noting that the airline is targeting the 2.2 million Vietnamese expats in the U.S.

Vietnamese Airlines will beat Vietnam-based Bamboo Airways to the San Francisco-Ho Chi Minh market. In September, the carrier and San Francisco Airport announced a memorandum of understanding for a planned launch of four-times weekly service using a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner.

The FAA opened the door for Vietnamese carriers to fly to the U.S. in early 2019, when it determined that the country’s civil aviation authority complies with international aviation safety standards.

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