Last year saw international visitors into Vietnam reach a record 7,943,651 arrivals.
As these figures increase year on year, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are increasingly being viewed as the natural gateways to Indochina, challenging the likes of Bangkok and Singapore.
The growing popularity of Vietnam and its neighbouring countries is happening at a time when the Vietnamese economy is showing continued strong growth.
These factors will see Vietnam Airlines and Cambodia’s flag carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air – in which Vietnam Airlines holds a 49 per cent stake – substantially increase domestic services in both nations.
They are also introducing new and additional connections between the countries, as well as further links to and from Laos and Myanmar during 2016.
Vietnam Airlines’ trunk routes linking Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (average of 22 flights per day), Ho Chi Minh City and Danang (average of 15 flights per day) and Hanoi and Danang (average of 12 flights per day) will see a more than 20 per cent increase in capacity over 2016.
Meanwhile, Nha Trang has an additional daily service from Hanoi, up from three to four flights per day, and a further service from Ho Chi Minh City, up from four to five services per day.
The increasingly popular holiday island of Phu Quoc now sees six flights per day from Ho Chi Minh City, up from four, while operations from Hanoi increase from a single daily service to a twice daily service.
Services between Vietnam and Myanmar continue to expand with a total of seven flights per week between Hanoi and Yangon (up from five) and five flights per week from Ho Chi Minh City (up from three), all operated by Airbus A321 aircraft.
In the meantime, the ATR72 turboprop aircraft has been replaced by the A321 on the Hanoi-Luang Prabang-Siem Reap service with five flights per week, as well as the Danang to Siem Reap service with a total of four flights per week, therefore providing increased capacity on both routes.
In tandem with Vietnam Airlines’ expanded operations, Cambodia Angkor Air is introducing a six times a week service linking Sihanoukville with Ho Chi Minh City, effective June 17th, along with a thrice weekly service linking Siem Reap with Danang, effective July 1st.
Both will be serviced by ATR72 aircraft.
Also planned for 2016 is a new route connecting Siem Reap with Hanoi.
These new routes complement the existing domestic flights linking Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, of which there are 42 flights per week operated by a mixture of A321 and ATR72 aircraft, and Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, which sees seven flights per week flown by A321 aircraft.
Other routes within Indochina link Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City (21 flights per week), Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City (28 flights per week) and Phnom Penh-Vientiane-Hanoi (three flights per week).
Commenting on the expanded services, Le Thanh Dzung, UK general manager of Vietnam Airlines said: “With our new Dreamliner service presently operating six non-stop flights a week from Heathrow to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, becoming a daily operation from July 3rd, Vietnam Airlines is increasingly the airline of choice for leisure and business travellers to Vietnam.
“We serve a total of 20 destinations in Vietnam and our combined operations with Cambodia Angkor Air elsewhere in Indochina see us provide an unrivalled network to and within the region.”