On December 6, Vietnam Airlines celebrated a new historical record in passengers’ traffic with the airline carrying Its 20th million passenger of the year. The event took place on a flight linking Tokyo Narita airport to Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport with the lucky passenger beening Japanese citizen Mamoru Kato. The 19,999,999th was Oda Junichi from Japan and the 20,000,001th was Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuy from Vietnam, all aboard the same flight.
Speaking at the event, Vietnam Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Nhat urged Vietnam Airlines and the VATM to ensure the absolute safety of their flights, modernise equipment and improve the workforce quality, towards becoming one of the leading flight suppliers in Southeast Asia and one of the most popular carriers in Asia-Pacific.
For the whole year 2016, Vietnam Airlines is expected to transport 20.6 million passengers- a growth of 16 percent over the previous year- and successfully operates its new fleet of Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus A350. Vietnam Airlines is expected to have conducted more than 742,000 flights in 2016.
2016 was an important milestone year for the airline: the carrier was certified earlier in 2016 witha four-star airline status by the UK-based rating organisation SkyTrax. From a strategic perspective, 2016 was also market by the arrival of Japan’s ANA Holdings as a strategic shareholder in July with ANA Holdings acquiring 8.7 per cent of Vietnam Airlines’ capital. The deal was approved by both Prime Ministers of Japan and Vietnam in May. Following the strategic approach by both carriers, a code share has been initiated on October 30. The code-share covers 30 domestic routes within Japan and Vietnam as well as ten international routes between both countries. Members of ANA and Vietnam Airlines frequent flyer programs can also acrrue mileage on both airlines.
In another development, Vietnam Airlines is now mulling to add new routes to Europe. After Paris? Frankfurt, London and Moscow, the Vietnamese national carrier looks at possibly launching a new route linking Hanoi to prague. The option has been seriously discussed by both vcivil aviations of Vietnam and the Czech Republic. On December 14, VN appointed a general sales agent in the Czech Republic, a first step into a more active presence.