|From the 2nd quarter of 2015, the carrier will be the first Asian airlines operating two new aircrafts B787-9 and A350. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hung
HA NOI (VNS) — The representative office of national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) in the UK on Tuesday announced that the firm will provide its services at Heathrow Airport's T4 Terminal instead of Gatwick Airport from March 31.
Along with launching its direct services from Heathrow, the national flag carrier will increase its weekly flights to five from four at present, including three Ha Noi-London flights and two others between HCM City and London. The firm has planned to operate a daily service on the route by 2016.
Heathrow is the first international airport VNA has chosen to operate its new Boeing 787-9 fleet.
VNA General Director Pham Ngoc Minh revealed that his firm will use aircraft Airbus 350 and Boeing 787-9 in the next three years as part of its effort to modernise the firm's fleet and increase the quality of its services.
The move is towards realising the firm's long-term target of becoming one of the major carriers in Southeast Asia, Minh said.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Airports' CEO spoke of VNA' decision to operate its new aircraft Dreamliner 787-9 at Heathrow Airport, stressing that this will help ensure regular direct flights between the UK and Viet Nam, one of 20 important countries for British businesses.
From the 2nd quarter of 2015, the carrier will be the first Asian airlines operating two new aircrafts B787-9 and A350.
According to statistics of VNA representative office in the UK, since the launch of Viet Nam-UK direct route in late 2011, the number of customers from the UK to Viet Nam using VNA services surged to 76,958 in 2014 from only 37,020 in 2011. The firm carried a total of 90,803 passengers on the route last year.
Domestic price ceilings
This week VNA announced price ceilings for domestic flights, applicable on tickets purchased from January 1.
Accordingly, the general class price ceiling for flights to mountainous areas, border and island regions, including the Ha Noi-Na San, HCM City-Can Tho and Da Nang-Dong Hoi routes, is VND1.6 million (US$75) per one-way flight.
For other flights covering less than 500km, the one-way price ceiling is VND1.7 million ($79) each.
The price ceiling is exclusive of taxes and additional charges.
The decision was made following a directive of the transport minister, dated December 25, 2014, on reducing airfares for short-distance domestic flights to help socio-economic development in mountainous areas, border and island regions.
In addition, beginning tomorrow, VNA will offer discounts to permanent residents or soldiers and officers who are working in Con Dao, Ca Mau and Pleiku, with a 15 per cent discount for the HCM City – Ca Mau and Da Nang-Pleiku flights, and a 30 per cent discount for the HCM City-Con Dao flights. — VNS