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Travelers may soon be able to travel to Vietnam from the United States nonstop aboard an Airbus A380, the iconic superjumbo. Vietnamese startup Bamboo Airways hopes to launch service between the two countries as early as next year. According to the airline’s chief executive, the only hurdle is government approval.
Bamboo Airways confirms that the airline has applied to serve the US, however, it is unclear as to when the US government could make a decision on whether or not to grant the airline approval to serve the US.
The Financial Times is reporting that Bamboo Airways intends to lease an Airbus A380, which would be used to operate the flights. While it is unclear how the airline plans on obtaining the plane, one option seems to be Hi-Fly Malta’s Airbus A380, capable of carrying 471 passengers and still featuring Singapore Airlines’ interior, including the airline’s first class suites, business class and a slightly modified economy class cabin.
The United States is home to an estimated 1.6 million residents that identify as Vietnamese. Additionally, both Vietnam and the United States are two major destinations for tourists. The two countries are roughly 6,600 miles apart, with the shortest distance of any practical route (Hanoi to San Francisco) upward of 7,400 miles apart. This would make for a 15-hour flight from Vietnam and 16+ hour flight from the United States.
Bamboo Airways is a relatively new Vietnamese airline, operating its first flights earlier this year. Though in service for less than a year, Bamboo Airways already operates a rather extensive domestic market in addition to service from Vietnam to Seoul, Taiwan and Tokyo.
Bamboo Airways currently serves 18 destinations from its hubs in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. The airline operates a fleet of 10 aircraft consisting of a single Airbus A319, five Airbus A320s, and four Airbus A321neos. Additionally, Bamboo Airways plans on taking delivery of 46 additional Airbus A321neos and 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Bamboo Airways is owned by FLC, a Hanoi-based real estate group. Trinh Van Quyet, the chairman and chief executive of FLC, told the Financial Times that Bamboo Airways will launch Vietnam-US flights “in the first quarter of 2020 if [they] get permission by the end of this year.”
Bamboo Airways is not the only airline eyeing nonstop flights between Vietnam and the United States. Back in 2016, Vietnam Airlines announced intentions to serve Los Angeles nonstop. There has also been speculation that low-cost carrier VietJet is considering nonstop flights between the two countries.
However, any Vietnamese carrier will first be required to receive government approval to serve the United States. Bamboo Airways appears to be the front-runner at the moment.
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Featured image by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
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