Vietnam Airlines yesterday launched their brand new A350 wide body aircraft on the Ho Chi Minh – Hanoi route as a way of getting their crew used to the new aircraft product before rolling out on long haul routes in a matter of weeks. The airline has improved its long haul products in a bid to raise their Skytrax rating from a 3 star carrier to a 4 star carrier.
The first two flights were only available to their most frequent fliers with Platinum or Gold’s Golden Lotus status as well as travel agents and larger corporate clients. As well as allowing passengers to experience a huge shift in hard product, passengers were treated to champagne and also a live musical performance from the Internationally acclaimed violinist Bui Cong Duy.
Vietnam Airlines is the second airline to introduce the A350-900XWB (after Qatar Airways) and become the first airline in Asia-Pacific to receive both the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-900 simultaneously. Vietnam Airlines plans to replace the entire widebody fleet with 33 new aircraft, including 19 Boeing 787 and 14 Airbus A350. These new aircraft will complete the fleet by 2019.
Starting later this year Vietnam Airlines will begin start the aircraft on the traffic heavy Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh route and shortly on international routes from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Heathrow and Frankfurt with their Boeing 787-9 and the A350 will be deployed on routes from Hanoi to Paris and Seoul.
The introduction of new economy and premium economy products, as well as fully-flat all aisle access business class seats, the carrier has certainly put its right foot forward in becoming an international player in the long-haul market.