Vietnam Airlines says wants route to the US by the end of next year


Hanoi (XFNews-ASIA) - Vietnam Airlines wants to establish an air link to the United States by the end of next year to tap growing relations between the two countries, the airline's project manger, Le Viet Dong, said.

A project to set up the link was first mooted two years ago but it has been consistently delayed. However last October, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung asked the airline to accelerate the process.

"We are working on the project at the request of the prime minister...Many complex issues remain to be solved and we can't go much faster because many government agencies are involved. We're now thinking of late 2007," Le said

Last November, Vietnam Airlines sent a delegation to the US to examine possibilities to open flights to San Franciso or Los Angeles.

It started a code-sharing agreement last April with American Airlines but it now wants to establish its own link, hoping to tap the 1.3 mln people of Vietnamese origin living mainly on the west coast of the US.

The recent normalisation of bilateral commercial relations with the US and Vietnam's accession to the World Trade Organisation also provide new business opportunities for the carrier.

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