Vietnam Airlines heads back to Europe this week
Hanoi-based is resuming its regularly scheduled passenger flights to continental Europe and the United Kingdom this week. The first flight, to London Heathrow, is pushing back on Monday. Flights to Frankfurt and Moscow will follow later in the week. By February, Vietnam Airlines is eyeing flying scheduled flights to four European airports.
Vietnam Airlines London bound on Monday
Until COVID-19 curbed flying, Vietnam Airlines flew west to Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris, and London. In March 2020, Vietnam Airlines paused all its international flights. Aside from government-sponsored repatriations and charters, the flights this week signal the return of Vietnam Airlines’ regularly scheduled passenger flights to Europe.
On Monday, January 24, VN55 is departing Hanoi’s Nội Bài International Airport for London Heathrow. An Airbus A350-900 will operate the flight and take 12 and a half hours to cover the 5,737 miles (9,233 kilometers) between the two cities.
On Tuesday, VN18 will leave London at midday for the return flight. But the Airbus won’t head straight home. Instead, VN18 operates via Paris Charles de Gaulle. After two hours on the ground there, the flight continues onto Hanoi, landing at 09:55 on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Vietnam Airlines is resuming its regularly scheduled flights to Frankfurt. VN37 pushes back from Hanoi at 07:05 on Thursday morning for the 12 hour and 15-minute flight west, landing at lunchtime on the same day.
The return flight, VN36, departs Frankfurt later that afternoon on the same day. VN36 touches down in Hanoi at 09:30 the following day. Vietnam Airlines’ Hanoi – Frankfurt – Hanoi flights are operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Vietnam Airlines takes off for Moscow on Friday
Finally, Vietnam Airlines is taking off for Moscow on the weekend. Late on Friday evening, VN63 will depart Hanoi for the 10 hour and 45-minute flight to Moscow, landing there in time for breakfast on Saturday morning.
After spending the day in Moscow, VN62 leaves late on Saturday evening for the return flight home. A Boeing 787-9 also operates the Hanoi- Moscow – Hanoi flights, with the aircraft touching down in Hanoi mid-morning the following day.
These flights will initially run weekly. Vietnam Airlines plans to lock in the schedules for the next few months early in February. Vietnam only resumed regular international flights from selected countries on January 1.
Until then, Vietnam Airlines had operated some government-backed repatriation and chartered flights, including to Europe and the United Kingdom, to facilitate essential travel.
European flights overshadowed by the start of Vietnam Airlines US flights
The resumption of Vietnam Airlines’ regular flights to Europe has been overshadowed by the launch of flights to the United States. The inaugural flight, which landed in San Francisco in late November, was described by the airline as a “key development milestone.”
COVID-19 continues to challenge Vietnam’s staged reopening to travelers. The European flights will initially service overseas Vietnamese and other approved travelers. Bans on general tourism entry and foreigners traveling to Vietnam to visit family and friends remain in place.
This limits the market for Vietnam Airlines international flights, including those to and from Europe. Further, those eligible to enter Vietnam will need to abide by a COVID-19 testing and self-isolation regime.
By Andrew Curran – Simple Flying – January 24, 2022