The QH9149 flight, using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, took off at around 7:55 p.m. at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport for San Francisco. The flight, the first of 12 direct flights between Vietnam and the U.S. that Bamboo Airways gained approval from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is expected to span over 14 hours.
On board are four pilots, 14 flight attendants and several technicians and ground controllers to perform necessary missions at the San Francisco Airport.
Nguyen Manh Quan, vice general director of Bamboo Airways, said the flight is of historic proportions, not just for Bamboo Airways but also for Vietnam’s aviation industry.
“We will affirm the capabilities for operation, safety, security and infrastructures for Vietnamese airlines and the entire Vietnamese aviation industry in general,” he said at a ceremony held in the airline’s headquarters in Hanoi the same day.
Nguyen Ngoc Trong, another vice general director of Bamboo Airways, said the flight’s goals were to serve tourists in both Vietnam and the U.S., to conduct commercial, diplomatic and cultural exchanges, and to affirm Bamboo Airways’s position, considering how a direct flight to the U.S. is among the hardest flight paths to achieve.
“In the last two years, we’ve managed to see opportunities in developing flights not just within Vietnam, but also in Southeast Asian and Northeast Asian regions like Japan, Taiwan, and even reaching towards Europe, Australia. And now, to the U.S.,” he said.
“By introducing direct flights to the U.S. at this moment in time, we’re ready to perform commercial flights once the pandemic dies down to meet customers’ demands in both countries.”
Bamboo Airways said it plans to organize three direct flights to the U.S. each week, gradually increasing the frequency to 5-7 flights a week, and finally daily flights.
Vietnam Airlines has conducted several direct U.S. flights for Covid-19 repatriation purpose. The national carrier said this week it is set to receive its final permit from U.S. authorities soon to conduct regular direct flights to the U.S. after nearly two decades of preparation.
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