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Vietnam Airlines launches first London-Hanoi flight after COVID-19 hiatus

Update: January, 26/2022 - 06:58

 

Passengers wait to board the plane at Heathrow Airport in the UK. — VNA/VNS Photo 

LONDON — Vietnam Airlines on Tuesday conducted the first regular flight from London to Hà Nội after a gap of almost two years caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From February 8, the national flag carrier will operate one flight a week every Tuesday on the Hanoi-London route, using wide-body Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

The UK is the 9th international market to which Vietnam Airlines has resumed its regular flights, following the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Taiwan (China) and Australia.

Head of Vietnam Airlines’ branch in the UK Phan Thế Thắng said after the Government gave the green light, the carrier has quickly launched regular flights to the UK and Europe to meet the demand of Vietnamese there to return home for family reunions on the occasion of the Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.

Flight VN18 from London to Hà Nội, which transited through Paris with nearly 300 passengers on board, is scheduled to land at Nội Bài International Airport on Wednesday morning.

The flight is included in the airline’s plan to restore international flights starting from January 1, as approved by the Government.

Nguyễn Hoàng Việt, a passenger on the flight, said the Government’s policy on resuming international flights was timely and a great source of encouragement for Vietnamese abroad who want to return home for Tết.

Nguyễn Thế Hùng, who has lived in the UK for over 20 years, expressed his delight at the Vietnamese Government’s approval of the resumption of flights between Hà Nội and London.

The flight also picked up a number of Vietnamese citizens in France during transit in Paris.

Coming to the Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport hours before departure, Mai Nam Thắng, a Vietnamese living in Normandy, said it had been quite a while seeing the once-familiar scene of exuberant Vietnamese about to head home for the year's most important holiday.

"This might be a first step towards normalisation of trade and exchanges between France and Việt Nam," he told Vietnam News Agency.

A Frenchman who lived in Long Xuyên City, the southern province of An Giang, was joyful to soon be reunited with his wife and daughter in Việt Nam after more than a year stranded in France.

According to Vương Hữu Nhân, President of the Vietnamese Association in France, the reopening of commercial routes is very good news for the community here.

"Overseas Vietnamese in France have been looking forward to this moment for a long time because everyone wants to return to their homeland and see their relatives, family and friends again. I know that at first, the number of passengers is still very limited. For example, overseas Vietnamese with French passports who want to travel cannot enter Việt Nam yet, and I hope in the future things will be more favourable," he said.

"All of us are eager to visit our homeland," Nhân added.

Information on requirements for entry into Việt Nam is available at www.vietnamairlines.com. — VNS

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