Vietnam Airlines returns to Europe this week

The Hanoi-based company will resume its regular passenger flights to continental Europe and the United Kingdom this week. The first flight, to London Heathrow, pushes back on Monday. Flights to Frankfurt and Moscow will follow later in the week. In February, Vietnam Airlines plans to fly scheduled flights to four European airports.

Vietnam Airlines will resume regular passenger flights to Europe this week. Photo: Getty Images

Vietnam Airlines London heading for Monday

Until COVID-19 curtailed flying, Vietnam Airlines flew west to Moscow, Frankfurt, Paris and London. In March 2020, Vietnam Airlines has paused all of 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 24 January, VN55 will depart from Hanoi’s Nội Bài International Airport to London Heathrow. An Airbus A350-900 will operate the flight, and it will 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 12:00 for the return flight. But the Airbus is not going straight home. Instead, VN18 works through Paris Charles de Gaulle. After two hours on the ground there, the flight continues to Hanoi and lands at 09:55 on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Vietnam Airlines will resume its regular scheduled flights to Frankfurt. VN37 pushes back from Hanoi at 7:05 AM on Thursday morning for the 12-hour 15-minute flight west, landing the same day at lunchtime.

The return flight, VN36, departs Frankfurt later that afternoon on the same day. VN36 lands in Hanoi at 9.30am the next day. Vietnam Airlines’ Hanoi – Frankfurt – Hanoi flights are operated by Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

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An Airbus A350-900 will operate Vietnam Airlines’ weekly flight to London Heathrow. Photo: Airbus

Vietnam Airlines leaves for Moscow on Friday

Finally, Vietnam Airlines departs for Moscow on the weekend. Late on Friday evening, VN63 departs Hanoi for the 10-hour 45-minute flight to Moscow and lands there in time for breakfast on Saturday morning.

After spending a day in Moscow, VN62 will leave late on Saturday evening for the return flight home. A Boeing 787-9 also operates the Hanoi-Moscow – Hanoi flights, landing in Hanoi mid-morning the next day.

These flights will initially be operated weekly. Vietnam Airlines plans to establish timetables for the coming months in early February. Vietnam did not resume regular international flights from selected countries until January 1.

Until then, Vietnam Airlines had operated a number of government-sponsored repatriation and charter flights, including to Europe and the United Kingdom, to facilitate essential travel.

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Boeing 787-9 aircraft will operate Vietnam Airlines flights to Frankfurt and Moscow. Photo: Boeing

European flights overshadowed by Vietnam Airlines launch US flights

Vietnam Airlines’ resumption of 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 “major development milestone.”

COVID-19 continues to challenge Vietnam’s phased reopening to travelers. The European flights will initially serve overseas Vietnamese and other approved travelers. Bans on general admission to tourism and foreigners traveling to Vietnam to visit family and friends remain in effect.

This limits the market for Vietnam Airlines international flights, including those to and from Europe. Furthermore, those eligible to enter Vietnam must adhere to a COVID-19 testing and self-isolation regime.

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