Vietnam Airlines has announced it will be extending its services from Gatwick Airport.
During the summer season, Vietnam’s flagship carrier will add a fifth weekly service from Gatwick, increasing its Ho Chi Minh City route from two to three flights a week.
The airline will also continue to serve Hanoi twice a week.
The announcement comes as the UK and Vietnam celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Throughout 2013, a programme of cultural, educational and innovation exchanges and events will mark the milestone year.
Relations have grown rapidly between the UK and Vietnam, with the two countries signing a Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2010 to help boost bilateral trade, economic ties and investment.
The following year, Vietnam Airlines announced it had chosen Gatwick as its exclusive partner in the UK, launching the country’s first non-stop flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in winter 2011.
Vietnam is one of the most popular destinations in the Asia-Pacific region with around 100,000 UK holidaymakers travelling to the country each year.
Vietnam is also a key emerging market for business. Designated one of the UK Trade and Investment’s ‘High Growth Markets’, bilateral trade increased by over 26 per cent in 2011, with UK exports of goods and services to Vietnam reaching £520 million.
Matt Wood, head of airline relations, Gatwick Airport said: “We are delighted that Vietnam Airlines has decided to expand its services from London Gatwick during the summer months, ensuring that both business and leisure passengers now have even more choice of when to fly to this fantastic destination.
“Air links to high-growth markets such as Vietnam are essential in ensuring that the UK can compete and make the most of the significant trade opportunities available with key emerging markets.
“Gatwick continues to demonstrate that it can open up these links but also, by working closely with our airlines, make them a success.”