Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways has outlined plans to fly to the US. Flying nonstop from Vietnam to California, Bamboo Airways will be the only carrier with scheduled nonstop service between the two countries. It will not be the first Vietnamese carrier to land in the US, but so far, it seems to be beating out flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on flights to the United States.
Bamboo Airways receives US operating rights
VnExpress has reported that Bamboo Airways has received slots and is planning on flying from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The current plan is for the airline to operate those flights from September 1st. Bamboo Airways will utilize Boeing 787-9s on the routes. Both routes will be served daily. In 2020, Bamboo Airways received approval from the US government to run flights between Vietnam and the US.
Nonstop flights between the US and Vietnam
When Bamboo Airways launches the services, it may be the only airline operating nonstop flights between the United States and Vietnam. In the last few years, airlines have been evaluating launching nonstop flights between the two countries.
At the forefront of the new long-haul flights has been Vietnam Airlines. For the past few years, the airline has been rumored to be on the cusp of announcing long-haul flights to the US.
Less than two months ago, Vietnam Airlines’ Board of Directors approved plans to use Boeing 787-9 aircraft to run flights to the US. Initially serving repatriation needs, Vietnam Airlines was looking at Los Angeles and San Francisco and the possibility of other cities like Seattle, Dallas, and New York.
Vietnam Airlines was crowned the winner in this race for the first Vietnamese carrier to operate to the US. The airline flew repatriation flights in 2020. On those routes, the primary goal was to fly as many passengers as possible in as few trips as possible, so Vietnam Airlines utilized Boeing 787-10 aircraft and had to stop in Anchorage, Alaska, on the way back to Vietnam with a full load.
The race is on
The real question now is whether Vietnam Airlines or Bamboo Airways will launch flights first. Both airlines have been rumored to run flights between the two countries, but Bamboo is the first to now put a date to those flights.
Essentially, the race is on. However, this may be a race that carriers do not want to win. Vietnam is still largely closed for leisure travel, so the flights would primarily cater to essential travel needs, some cargo, and repatriation flights.
In addition, neither carrier has extensive codeshare relationships in the US. Vietnam Airlines has a bit of a head start on Bamboo Airways in this respect. As a member of the SkyTeam alliance, the flag carrier can turn to the alliance’s US carrier: Delta Air Lines, for a codesharing relationship in the US.
Bamboo Airways could forego a codeshare, but it would then be relying mostly on nonstop origin and destination demand, which may prove to be not enough on initial flights– especially in the face of travel restrictions. Instead of a codesharing relationship, Bamboo Airways could consider interlining partnerships.
There may be external factors that could delay that date. For now, September, the US and Vietnam could get a lot closer.
Are you excited for Bamboo Airways to launch flights to the US? Let us know in the comments!