Vietnam Airlines has placed an order for 10 more Airbus A350 aircraft, which it plans to use to launch its first direct flights to the US.
The national carrier had previously ordered 14 A350s, along with 19 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, in a bid to modernise its long-haul fleet. Some of these aircraft have already entered service on key European routes and Vietnam Airlines has now said that the 10 additional A350s will enable it to fly trans-Pacific to the US.
“The intention to acquire these additional aircraft reflects our excellent experience with the A350 since it entered service with Vietnam Airlines last year,” said Duong Tri Thanh, president & CEO of Vietnam Airlines. “With its very long range capability, economic fuel consumption and spacious cabin, the A350 is the ideal aircraft for our proposed intercontinental routes to Europe and the US.
“The start of non-stop trans-Pacific services with the A350 is yet another example of the commitment we have at Vietnam Airlines to strengthen our position as one of the world’s leading international carriers,” he added.
The agreement for 10 A350-900s, valued at more than US$3 billion at current list prices, was signed during French President François Hollande’s state visit to Vietnam, in the presence of Vietnam’s President, Tran Dai Quang.
It was a production trip for Airbus, which also sold 20 A321s to Vietjet and 10 A320s to Jetstar Pacific, which is part-owned by Vietnam Airlines.
Last year, Vietnam Airlines became only the second in the world, after Qatar Airways, to operate the A350. It currently operates a fleet of four A350s and four B787-9s on routes to destinations including Paris, London, Shanghai and Seoul. B787 flights to Australia are due to commence later this year.
There has been no confirmed launch date for Vietnam Airlines’ proposed trans-Pacific flights to the US, although officials have previous stated they could commence in 2018.