Vietnam Airlines secures Canada approval

The carrier plans to operate non-scheduled repatriation flights.

Vietnam Airlines has been granted permission to operate flights to Canada, paving the way for the flag-carrier’s first services to the North American country.

The decision by Transport Canada to award a Foreign Air Operator Certificate allows the airline to operate non-scheduled flights to the country. The certificate attests that Vietnam Airlines meets safety standards to operate to/from Canada. 

The carrier subsequently applied for, and was issued, a license for non-scheduled international service from the Canadian Transportation Agency.

Vietnam Airlines plans to operate repatriation flights to bring Vietnamese citizens in Canada home, and at the same time transport Canadians back to Canada. The carrier also expects to carry Vietnamese students who want to study in Canada.

The first flight is set to take off on June 30 to Toronto (YYZ), while service to Vancouver (YVR) is also being planned. Flights will be onboard Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

Vietnam Airlines had been allowed to operate flights to Canada last year, but only for four months from July to November.

As reported by Routes earlier this month, Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways is also seeking to offer flights to Canada. The airline has requested permission from the US Transportation Department for flights between Hanoi (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to various points in the US, with connecting service to Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

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O&D traffic between Vietnam and Canada totaled 362,000 two-way passengers in 2019, all of whom flew indirect. The Sabre Market Intelligence figures show Ho Chi Minh City-Toronto was the largest city pair, accounting for about 100,000 two-way passengers, with Ho Chi Minh City-Vancouver second.

Details of Vietnam Airlines’ approval come as Canada’s government has started to take the first steps to ease entry restrictions. The country’s borders will open to fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and certain other eligible travelers from July 5.

These travelers will be able enter Canada without having to self-isolate for 14 days, taking a test on day eight, or having to stay in a quarantine hotel upon arrival.

However, the new rules do not apply to fully vaccinated non-citizens who are looking to visit for non-essential reasons, or for any Canadian travelers who are not fully vaccinated.

Photo credit: Joe Pries