Vietnam Airlines is the first Vietnamese carrier to get this permission. Even if international travel remains heavily restricted the airline’s first flight is set to take off on June 30 to Toronto and that will primarily be to repatriate citizens of both countries that are stuck back home. The carrier is also looking to transport Vietnamese students to Canada. It will operate flights mainly to Toronto and Vancouver.
Vietnam Airlines had been allowed to operate flights to Canada last year, but only for four months from July to November.
Earlier this month, Vietnam Airlines also received approval from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct 12 repatriation flights. These flights are essentially for repatriation of Vietnamese and U.S. citizens from and to San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Houston. The carrier’s first flight occurred on June 22nd, flying from Hanoi to Washington DC via Alaska, and returned on 24 June.
Since the carrier obtained the approval of the US, Vietnam Airlines plans to start weekly flights from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to San Francisco. The carrier had posted earlier this year a schedule of the route, though it is now unknown when it will exactly take place. The airline uses for the routes its biggest wide-body aircraft – the Airbus A350s and the Boeing 787s
Vietnam Airlines also announced at the end of May that it has become the first carrier in Vietnam to trial the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass mobile application. This holds the key to the safe restart of international aviation and tourism and facilitates smooth travel for passengers in a verifiable manner while ensuring government entry requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccination are met. IATA will provide support and closely coordinate activities throughout the trial with Vietnam Airlines it stated.
Le Hong Ha, Vietnam Airlines President & CEO said: “Being one of the first airlines in Vietnam working with IATA as a pioneer partner on the IATA Travel Pass is a big step forward for our passengers and for the industry. We truly believe that our robust digital capabilities along with IATA’s extensive expertise in aviation will bring some success after this trial. A digital health credentials initiative such as the IATA Travel Pass should be allowed and widely recognized by governments, thus creating a solution that can help restart flights to and from Vietnam and around the world. The final objective is to restore passenger confidence in flying and to ensure a seamless and safe travel experience for all of them.”
In February 2021, Vietnam Airlines and IATA began discussions on the IATA Travel Pass. Currently, Singapore, Panama, and Estonia have publicly endorsed the use of the IATA Travel Pass with about 30 airlines having announced trials, including Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways it stated.