United Airlines today announced that it will begin daily San Francisco-Ho
Chi Minh City service via Hong Kong effective December 9, 2004, following
completion of the application process with the government of Vietnam. The
first flight will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City on December 10, 2004, the
third anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement.“We are very excited by this historic opportunity to be the first U.S.
carrier to provide direct service to Vietnam in almost 30 years. The route
is an important addition to our global network and comes at the right time
for travelers to and from the Asia-Pacific region,” said Glenn Tilton,
United’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
“Vietnam holds huge potential of becoming a significant trading partner
and an emerging market for U.S. goods and services,” Tilton said. “No
airline is better suited to provide the service than United.”
“Our relationship with Vietnam has continued to grow over the past decades
through the expansion of trade relations and the full restoration and
normalization of diplomacy,” said Senator John McCain (R-AZ). “I applaud
United’s historic new service to Vietnam and hope it serves to build a
better future for the American and Vietnamese people. ”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts Vietnam’s air
travel industry will grow 10.5% per year for each of the next 10 years.
From 1985-1999, it grew 29.5%. The country’s rate of gross domestic
product growth is currently keeping pace with that of China, one of the
fastest-growing economies in the world today.
“The U.S. and Vietnam have experienced a dramatic increase in our
commercial relations since the Bilateral Trade Agreement came into effect
on December 10, 2001,” said the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Raymond F.
Burghardt. “Direct air connections are the next logical steps, and this
should further increase trade, tourism and cultural relations between our
United will operate combined passenger and cargo service using a Boeing
747-400 aircraft configured with 14 United First Suite(R) seats, 73 United
Business(R) seats and 260 United Economy(R) class seats.
United Flight 869 will depart San Francisco at 12:10 p.m. on December 9
and arrive in Hong Kong at 7:00 p.m. on December 10. The continuing flight
will depart Hong Kong at 8:55 p.m. and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City at 10:25
p.m. Beginning December 11, United Flight 862 will depart Ho Chi Minh City
at 6:15 a.m. and arrive in Hong Kong at 9:40 a.m. The continuing flight
will depart Hong Kong at 1:05 p.m. and arrive in San Francisco at 8:40
a.m. the same day.
Under the agreement reached between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments,
United will be permitted to carry passengers and cargo locally between Ho
Chi Minh City and Hong Kong. In addition, United’s Ho Chi Minh City - Hong
Kong service will provide a convenient onward connection to and from
United’s daily Hong Kong - Chicago service and beyond.