The FAA announced that Vietnam has been granted a Category 1 rating after successfully passing an audit in August 2018 to assess the countries air traffic safety. According to the FAA Audit, Vietnam meets the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for personnel licensing, operations and airworthiness. That will allow Airlines based in Vietnam to apply for permits to fly to the US effective immediately and to offer code-shared flights with US airlines.
This is great news for Vietnam and US travelers interested to visit the country, as it will allow for non-stop flights between the two countries. Getting the Category 1 rating was a long journey with a lot of hard work – Vietnam had been working since 2012 on meeting the tough regulation standards.
The airline best positioned to take advantage of the new rating is Vietnam Airlines. The country’s flag carrier has extensive international operations and the planes to fly non-stop to the US, for example with their new Airbus A350 or Boeing B787 planes. Vietnam Air has expressed interest to fly non-stop from Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) to Los Angeles, California. Vietnam Airlines is a SkyTeam member and would be able to code-share with partner Delta Airlines.
Another local airline that has shown interest in flying to the US is start-up Bamboo Air. They just recently launched their first domestic flights, but already have a number of long-haul planes on order that are capable of serving non-stop flights to the US.
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