In a milestone achievement, Bamboo Airways became the first Vietnamese airline to launch a passenger flight to a US destination. On September 23rd, flight QH9149 took off at 7:55 pm local time from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport for San Francisco. A pre-flight commemoration ceremony was held at the carrier’s headquarters the same day to mark the event.
Off to the US
Bamboo Airways deployed its Boeing 787-9 on the flight with a crew of four pilots and 14 flight attendants. The flight also carried technicians and ground controllers to perform the necessary checks upon landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
After about 14 hours, flight QH9149 arrived at SFO at 7:50 pm local time, according to Radarbox.com.
The deputy general director of Bamboo Airways, Nguyen Manh Quan, highlighted the significance of this flight not just for Bamboo Airways but for the Vietnamese aviation sector as a whole, saying,
“We will once again affirm the capability for operation, safety, security and infrastructure for Vietnamese airlines and the entire Vietnamese aviation industry in general.”
More to come
The US government has approved the carrier to conduct up to 12 roundtrips between Vietnam and the US until November. Future flights could also connect Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) and Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Vietnam with Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
The carrier first announced its plans for flights to the US in the first quarter of 2020, which got delayed by a year due to the pandemic. There’s still time before Bamboo Airways can run regularly scheduled commercial flights between the two countries. The carrier will have to first get the required slots and gates at airports for frequent services in the future.
Happening now: Bamboo Airways’ first flight from Vietnam to San Francisco International Airport (@flySFO). Follow QH9149, operated with a @Boeing 787-9 #Dreamliner (VN-A829). Pics: Bamboo Airways, @flightradar24. 1/2 @BoeingAirplanes @jetcitystar pic.twitter.com/urckwS0dDT
— Aeronews (@AeronewsGlobal) September 23, 2021
Nguyen Ngoc Trong, another deputy general of the carrier, was excited about the prospect of the flights serving tourists both in the US and Vietnam. Highlighting the growing network of Bamboo Airways, he commented,
“In the last two years, we’ve managed to see opportunities in developing flights not just within Vietnam, but also in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia like Japan, Taiwan, and even reaching towards Europe and Australia. And now, to the U.S.”
Bamboo Airways is keeping up with its plans of international expansion. Currently, it has three Boeing 787-9s in its fleet, with 11 more to come. It is also due to sign a $2 billion deal with General Electric to power its Dreamliners with GEnx engines.
The airline also has plans to make inroads into the US and fly to Dallas and New York, and eventually connect Canada with Vietnam, too. Approximately 1.8 million people traveled between Vietnam and North America in 2019, and the carrier would definitely want a significant share of that.
It’s good to see a Vietnamese carrier flying directly to the US finally. Vietnam Airlines has so far operated non-scheduled repatriation flights to the US but is planning to fly on the sector soon. With competition on the horizon and the route’s low-premium demand, Bamboo Airways has its work cut out for itself.