Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc (fifth from right) with Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan and Chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance Toshihiro Nikai (sixth from right) and participants at the anniversary ceremony. — Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines
HÀ NỘI — Vietnam Airlines held an event in Tokyo on Monday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its first commercial air route connecting Việt Nam and Japan.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, who is taking part in the 14th G20 Summit in Japan, as well as Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Japan and Chairman of the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentary Alliance, representatives of the high-level delegation of the Government of Việt Nam and other guests.
Vietnam Airlines' first flight connecting HCM City and Osaka flew in 1994. Since then, the airline has expanded its routes, upgraded its fleet and become an important bridge to enhance investment attraction and the development of both countries' economies, cultures and societies.
After 25 years, the total number of Vietnam Airlines passengers has reached more than 12.5 million. It is currently the Vietnamese airline with the largest market share of travel between the two countries, reaching nearly 60 per cent.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Phúc said the deep strategic partnership between Việt Nam and Japan is developing well. Vietnam Airlines has developed into a modern and safe airline, and its flights to Japan have contributed to the two countries' relationship.
“In the new chapter of co-operation between the two countries, we must promote multi-faceted co-operation, including in aviation," PM Phúc said. "I believe that with Vietnam Airlines’ efforts of the past 25 years and with the co-operation of Japan, the carrier will modernise its fleet, improve service quality to grow and contribute to pushing relations between the two countries.”
Nikai expressed his admiration for Vietnam Airlines for its work to connect the two countries in the 25 years since the relationship between Việt Nam and Japan began to develop.
He said the solid friendship between the two countries will be expanded in the future with the support of Vietnam Airlines.
According to Dương Trí Thành, CEO of Vietnam Airlines, Japan is always in the top five markets with the largest air capacity to Việt Nam, and is one of the markets with an important strategic role in the carrier’s long-term development plan.
Trade co-operation between the two countries is growing strongly, reaching US$37.8 billion in 2018. The sides have targeted $60 billion in bilateral trade by 2020.
In the aviation sector, 2016 marked the deepening of co-operation between the two countries when Japan's largest airline ANA Holdings bought an 8.7 per cent stake in Vietnam Airlines and became a strategic partner. The two sides have worked together on joint ventures, regular customers, ground technical services for passengers and goods, technical maintenance and vocational training.
In 2019, Vietnam Airlines was recognised by Skytrax as a four-star international airline for the fourth year in a row, while ANA continues to be the only Japanese airline to win a five-star rating from Skytrax. The comprehensive strategic partnership with ANA creates favourable conditions for Vietnam Airlines to upgrade its services and soon become the first five-star international airline in Việt Nam.
In 2018, more than 800,000 Japanese tourists came to Việt Nam. The number is expected to reach one million by 2020. The growth rate of Vietnamese tourists to Japan last year was 125.9 per cent, higher than any other country.
Vietnam Airlines currently operates 11 routes between Việt Nam and Japan with an average of nearly 80 flights per week, connecting Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng with major Japanese cities including Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. In the coming years, the airline will continue to introduce more wide-body aircraft into operation and open new routes to Japan. — VNS