Vietnam Airlines has been recognised as a regional leader by voters at the World Travel Awards. Here Breaking Travel News catches up with Trinh Hong Quang, executive vice president with the carrier, to find out what makes it so unique
Breaking Travel News: Congratulations – Vietnam Airlines has been honoured with the titles of Asia’s Leading Cultural Airline, Asia’s Leading Airline - Premium Economy Class and Asia’s Leading Airline - Economy Class by the World Travel Awards. How does it feel to have won?
Trinh Hong Quang: We are honoured to receive this award from the World Travel Awards.
This achievement stands as a testament to our airline’s continuous efforts in sharing and conveying our wonderful culture with our passengers.
We take great pride in incorporating various cultural touch-points across all of our products and services.
Furthermore, we will continue to demonstrate our unwavering dedication to improving our customer service across all cabin types and upgrading our fleet.
Again, I am delighted that these efforts have been acknowledged by both the travel trade and the public.
BTN: How useful are accolades such as the World Travel Awards when it comes to promoting Vietnam Airlines to a global hospitality market?
THQ: Because of the substantial global regard for the World Travel Awards – which honours the best service providers in travel, tourism, and hospitality – these accolades hold tangible importance as they provide a boost when competing in the international hospitality market.
As the national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines pays close attention to integrating Vietnamese culture into its products and services.
In addition to cultural representations such as the quintessential lotus symbol and flight attendant uniforms (our cabin attendants are dressed in traditional ao dais), the airline has recently infused new cultural imprints.
These range from serving unique local produce on board, and creating menus which combine the distinct flavours of the nation’s three regions, to introducing famous Vietnamese movies into our in-flight entertainment catalogue.
Moreover, we have continued to demonstrate phenomenal dedication towards improving its service quality.
Passengers flying economy class and premium economy continue to enjoy additional benefits from Vietnam Airlines’ extensive fleet expansion program and five-star service standards.
The arrival of new-generation wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 787-10, Boeing 787-9, Airbus A350, Airbus A321neo has further provided customers a new level of comfort, accompanied by the new in-flight Wi-Fi offering.
BTN: Vietnam has been able to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism sector – does this leave the airline well placed to return in 2020?
THQ: Vietnam’s success in combating the pandemic can be attributed to several key factors, including a well-developed public health system, a strong central government and a proactive containment strategy.
Indeed, we are seeing signs of recovery, and domestic travel is on the rise in places where travel restrictions have been eased.
Over the past few months, the airline has launched 22 new domestic routes – the highest number recorded in the airline’s history – to serve increasing demand.
We have been operating repatriation flights since February, fulfilling our mission as a flag-carrier, and also transported foreign expert workers and professionals.
We are still building a plan to resume flights to other countries in the near future, pending actual disease developments and approval from the relevant authorities.
From March, Vietnam Airlines started to bolster cargo transportation as it provides the airline with a crucial source of revenue and overcome the financial hardships caused by the pandemic.
Some 2,500 first-ever cargo-only flights to north-east Asia, south-east Asia and Europe, and also 200 domestic flights had been added.
We also reconfigured passenger cabins to give them additional cargo capacity.
In the first nine months of 2020, the airline transported 134 thousand tonnes, earning around VND4 trillion of cargo revenue.
Vietnam Airlines’ cargo-only flights are sustaining the delivery of living necessities, as well as protective gear, face masks, medical emergency supplies and equipment to combat the Covid-19.
These efforts represent the flag carrier’s crucial support for the global anti-epidemic fight as well as the continuity of the global trade ecosystem, especially export and import industries hence improving the living standards of workers in key industrial zones and factories.
BTN: What changes can passengers expect to see onboard in order to keep them safe in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic?
THQ: Vietnam Airlines has been applying preventive measures throughout all stages of our business to ensure the highest level of safety for passengers and the broader community.
Since March, aircraft are regularly being sprayed and sanitised with disinfectant (meeting international health standards) upon landing.
These planes are then left to soak overnight to maximise the effect.
Thorough disinfection continues to be performed in all passenger cabins, cockpits, and galley areas, with an added focus on frequently touched surfaces like overhead compartments, armrests, headphones, buttons, and so forth.
We also conduct the most stringent pandemic prevention and control measures for international flights.
Antibacterial tissues are provided instead of cotton towels on all flights, and pillows, blankets, and reusable items are limited to curtail any potential spread of the virus.
Vietnam Airlines has spearheaded the growth of aviation market in Vietnam, now considered one of the fastest-growing domestic markets in the world.
Throughout 20 years of development, the carrier has maintained a double-digit annual growth rate.
Positioning itself as a modern carrier with an internationally recognisable brand characterised by Vietnamese traditional culture, Vietnam Airlines has been recognised as the best in the region by World Travel Awards.
Find out more on the official website.