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"Vietnam Airlines' success turns country into regional hub"
Vietnam Airlines' success turns country into regional hub
Courtesy: Vietnam Airlines
Taking advantage of the normalized relations and the burgeoning
business between Vietnam and the United States, Vietnam Airlines is
riding its wave of success into California.
Founded in 1996, the national flag carrier sports average annual
growth rates of 30%, $816 million in revenue in 2003, $650 million in
2002. And now, taking full advantage of the special relationship
between Vietnam and the United States, Vietnam Airlines is in the
process of opening direct flight services linking the two nations. Two
million Vietnamese Americans and five million war veterans represent a
group of frequent travelers to the region, and Vietnam Airlines
expects to capture their business with its flights.
Bucking the trend
While the industry is in decline worldwide, Vietnam Airlines uses its
strategic location – Southeast Asia is an island of peace in a
tumultuous world – to expand at leaps and bounds. Last year alone, the
company added six international flights to the famous temples at
Angkor Wat, Cambodia, Pusan, Korea, Fukuoka, Japan, Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia, Singapore and, as the crown jewel, Paris, France. Moreover,
the company is working on a deal to streamline service to Germany in
cooperation with Lufthansa, providing additional connections to
Europe. To support its spectacular growth, Vietnam Airlines has
entered into a variety of code share flights with international
heavyweights, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Korean Air,
Singapore Airlines and Air France. Moreover, the fleet is not only
getting younger and more modern, it has also added Boeing aircraft to
the mix. Between 2003 and 2004, a total of six new Boeing 777 aircraft
have joined the fleet.
Vietnam Airlines is not only flying its blue planes with the golden
lotus to Europe to bring business and leisure travelers to Vietnam.
The airline has successfully developed into the regional number one,
linking Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos) and secondary airports
in Southern China with the hubs of East Asia, such as Hong Kong, Kuala
Lumpur and Bangkok. As Asian travelers know, flying Vietnam Airlines
is still a stylish affair. Even on some domestic flights will
passengers be served wine and a hot meal by a graceful cabin crew with
a never-failing smile. But most of all, the inflight service provides
a first sensations of Asia on the way. Meals are a combination of the
best of European and Asian flavors with authentic Chinese, Japanese,
Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. On the menu are a well-known treat of
Vietnamese noodle soup, called Pho, or steamed glutinous rice known as
Xoi. Thanks to the brand-new aircraft, individual entertainment sets
are available to while away a 12-hour flight. The airline has set
itself the target of serving 5.5 million passengers by 2005 and 10
million by 2010 throughout a strategically developed network of long
haul flights and local and regional connections.
(Mike) wrote in message . com...
[Vietnam Airlines praise snipped]
Vietnam will never be a hub of any kind unless it lowers its entry
charges (to both passengers and airlines) so air fares come down,
simplifies entry requirements, and upgrades its airports and other
Like Chinese economic growth data, Vietnamese tourism statistics are
seriously exaggerated. By the Vietnamese tourism authority's own 2003
figures, more than 80% of foreign visitors to HCMC don't return a
second time. Only this year, flights on the Danang-Hong Kong route
were halved. Scheduled domestic flights, even on the relatively busy
Hanoi-HCMC route, are routinely cancelled and consolidated.
I have flown VN numerous times: yes it's got better, but from a low
base. To pay US$580 for a 90-minute flight to Hong Kong is outrageous.
And I like Vietnamese food as a rule, but the unappetising sludge
served up by the carrier is a travesty.
George W. Russell
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