By Winston Shek
Bamboo Airways to operate its first flights to the United States via San Francisco
Vietnam-based Bamboo Airways will make its first flight to the United States on July 15, according to flight schedule data from the aeronautical network. Her first flight is a charter from Hanoi to San Francisco, arriving at the airport at 8:20 pm. The low-cost Vietnamese company will leave San Francisco the next day at 3.20 pm, with a direct flight back to Hanoi.
Bamboo Airways will use the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the charter flight. Its long-haul aircraft has two seating configurations, one with 294 seats with 26 seats in business class, 21 seats in premium economy class and 247 seats in economy class, and another with 292 seats with 30 seats in business class, 36 seats in premium economy class and 226 seats in economy class.
While the reason and client for these flights is not yet known, these charters likely serve as repatriation flights for Vietnamese citizens who wish to return home, as non-essential travel to Vietnam is prohibited for everyone. In addition, it will meet essential travel needs between the two countries, such as Vietnamese students and their relatives returning to the United States.
Over the summer, Vietnam Airlines re-launched its repatriation efforts to the United States, with a flight to Dulles in Washington in June. In addition, the Vietnamese flag carrier made a repatriation flight to Dallas in July, Vietnam Airlines’ first flight to the airport. Similar to Bamboo Airways, the airline used its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for these flights, a pivot of the use of the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350-900 XWB in 2020.
In April, Bamboo Airways chairman Trinh Van Quyet hinted at the start of charter flights to the United States in July.
“We will begin charter flights to the United States in July and target the launch of non-stop commercial flights between Ho Chi Minh City and San Francisco in September, with an initial frequency of three flights per week,” he said. -he declares.
In the previous months, Bamboo Airways has revealed plans for a permanent non-stop connection to the United States. For example, the low cost carrier hires a representative base in San Francisco, hiring multiple positions like a station manager and a financial manager.
Additionally, in a recent US Department of Transportation filing, Bamboo Airways announced plans to fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles and San Francisco non-stop in the third quarter of 2021. The low-cost carrier has asked for them. rights to fly to Los Angeles. , San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Dallas, with possible intermediate stops in Osaka and Nagoya, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan, and rights to continue flights to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, Canada. All of these points have been selected by the Vietnamese government, with no fifth freedom rights allowed between the United States and Japan.
In addition, Bamboo Airways has finalized a preliminary schedule for flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles, after receiving approval of proposed flight schedules at the two airports with slots. Its preliminary schedule in San Francisco includes an arrival at 10 a.m. and a departure at 1 p.m., allowing for a departure from Ho Chi Minh City in the morning and an arrival in Ho Chi Minh City in the evening. Meanwhile, its preliminary schedule to Los Angeles includes an arrival at 9:30 a.m. and a departure at 12:30 p.m., allowing for similar departure and arrival times to and from Ho Chi Minh City.
If Bamboo Airways implements its service plans, the airline intends to share codes with a “major” US carrier. If the Department of Transportation approves its foreign carrier license, the Hanoi-based carrier has the right to code share to 25 destinations in the United States: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Honolulu; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Minneapolis; New York; Newark, New Jersey; The City of Oklahoma; Philadelphia Cream; Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Saint Louis; San-Francisco; San José, California; Seattle; Washington DC and Wichita, Kan.
According to RoutesOnline, Saber data indicates that the origin and destination, often O&D, traffic from Vietnam to the United States totaled 1.77 million passengers in 2019, with 300,300 passengers on the Ho Chi Minh route to Los Angeles and 198,000 passengers on the Ho Chi Minh route. to the San Francisco route.
Amid high demand between the two countries, there are concerns about profitability due to the length of the flight and the low-yielding nature of the market. In a 2019 filing, Vietnam Airlines said it expected losses of $ 54 million in the first year on a hypothetical Ho Chi Minh City to Los Angeles route.
Likewise, in 2018, Vietnam Airlines CEO Doung Tri Thanh said, “Vietnam Airlines could face an average annual loss of $ 30 million in the first five years of operation if we open a direct route. to the United States ”.