Vietnam Airlines has confirmed that it will initially serve London’s Gatwick Airport in the UK capital after failing to secure the necessary slots to serve London Heathrow. However, in the longer-term, as its links become established, it is understood to be interested in transferring its flights across the city. The airline is planning to launch twice weekly flights from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and has provisionally set December 8 as its launch date. It will use a Boeing 777-200ER on the routes and plans to increase capacity to a daily schedule by 2014.
The UK is currently the largest O&D market from Vietnam that is not currently served by the airline. It already operates flights to Paris CDG, Frankfurt and Moscow Domodedovo from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The number of people travelling between the UK and Vietnam is increasing, according to visitor statistics, with an estimated 90,000 making the journey in 2010, up 28 per cent on the previous year. Official data shows an O&D market of an estimated 83,000 passengers between the two countries with traffic mainly routing via Bangkok with Thai Airways International, Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific Airways and Singapore with Singapore Airlines. Alongside business and leisure travellers there are around 40,000 Vietnamese people living and working in Britain, and 7,000 students studying in the country, adding further VFR traffic.
Hanoi – London Gatwick
VN145 HAN2340 – 0620+1LGW 777 14
VN144 LGW1200 – 0630+1HAN 777 25
Ho Chi Minh City – London Gatwick
VN141 SGN2320 – 0620+1LGW 777 25
VN140 LGW1200 – 0710+1SGN 777 36