National carrier Vietnam Airlines has confirmed that as of 31 March 2015, its nonstop UK services to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will operate from Heathrow. The airline will join its fellow SkyTeam members at Terminal 4.
Vietnam Airlines’ switch from Gatwick to Heathrow will see a substantial increase in the frequency of non-stop services to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, rising to a daily service following the deployment of the airline’s brand new Boeing 787-9s on its UK routes.
Heathrow will be the first international destination on the Vietnam Airlines network to be served by the new next-generation Dreamliners. The new aircraft will feature in-flight WiFi and fully flat beds in Business Class, and will also herald the launch of Vietnam Airlines’ new branding and corporate identity - firmly establishing it as the leading carrier for the Indochina region.
The Chief Executive Officer of Vietnam Airlines, Dr Pham Ngoc Minh, commented, “Our vision, and that of the government of Vietnam, is for Vietnam Airlines to become the major carrier in Southeast Asia. Establishing Vietnam Airlines in the UK market is vital to realising that vision, and we remain extremely grateful to Gatwick Airport for its support in doing that, and for its contribution towards the advancement of Vietnam-UK bilateral relations.
“Less than four years after successfully launching the first ever nonstop services between the UK and Vietnam, moving our operations to Heathrow represents another tremendous step towards achieving our goal. We are delighted that our passengers will soon be able to enjoy daily flights on the very latest and most comfortable aircraft, from one of the world’s most important, advanced and well connected international hub airports”. Added Dr Pham.
Vietnam Airlines’ General Manager UK & Ireland, Le Thanh Dzung, added, “The launch of Vietnam Airlines’ non-stop services from Gatwick saw UK arrivals into Vietnam rise by over 40 per cent year on year, and both the leisure and corporate markets have grown steadily ever since. Moving our operations to Heathrow will enable us to offer the increased frequency and capacity needed to build on and cater to this growing demand. As a prestigious global hub airport, Heathrow also provides a perfect platform on which to launch our new, world class product and branding.”
Heathrow’s Chief Executive Officer, John Holland-Kaye, also highlighted the significance of Vietnam Airlines’ decision, saying “We are delighted that Vietnam Airlines has chosen to operate its new Dreamliner 787 fleet from Heathrow, securing regular direct flights from the UK to a vital emerging market. This demonstrates once again that only a strong hub airport like Heathrow, with a mix of premium direct and transfer passengers, can help Britain win the race for growth.
With Vietnam identified by the government as one of the top 20 growth markets for UK businesses, this new route shows how Heathrow expansion is the best solution for the UK economy, creating up to £211bn in GDP and 180,000 new jobs.”
Lord Puttnam, UK Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said “As an island trading nation, air links in to fast growing import markets like Vietnam are vital for the UK’s economic growth prospects. That’s why I am delighted to welcome the announcement that Vietnam Airlines will now have a daily, direct route to Britain’s hub airport, helping British business to compete in the global race.”