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 frequency. Initially rising from four to five flights per week to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, route frequency will be further increased to a daily service in 2016.
The services will continue to be operated by Boeing 777-200ER until July 2015, when Vietnam Airlines will deploy 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: “Less than four years after successfully launching the first ever nonstop services between the UK and Vietnam, we remain extremely grateful to Gatwick airport for its support and 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”.
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.”
Still the only nonstop services between the UK and Vietnam, Vietnam Airlines’ flights from Heathrow will operate to Hanoi on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays and to Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Services to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will depart Heathrow at 1345hrs, with arrivals in Hanoi at 0650hrs the following day; and arrivals in Ho Chi Minh City at 0710hrs the following day.