Northwest breaks into Vietnam

8 Apr 2009

Northwest Airlines, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, has won its license to fly between San Francisco and Ho Chi Minh City, according to a report on the government’s website. This makes it the second US carrier to serve the country, after United Airlines, which made history in 2004 as the first American commercial carrier to operate there since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.

The carrier will launch flights in June between San Francisco and Ho Chi Minh City, using a Boeing B-757. There will be a transit stop in Tokyo.

It is expected that national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will now step up efforts to ply the same route. It announced plans in the past to do so but later backtracked.

The Vietnam War spurred the diaspora of many Vietnamese to the US, Australia and Europe. Over 1.3 million Vietnamese are believed to be residing in the US.

Since doi moi – the term given to economic reforms – was instituted in 1986, the government has been encouraging these immigrants to resettle in Vietnam and contribute to its growth. It has also been welcoming international investors keen to seek business opportunities.

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Margie T Logarta

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