LA Mayor: The first direct flight from Vietnam to US can be at the end of 2019

Diep Nguyen

14:59 30/07/2018


A third of all trade between Vietnam and US come through the Los Angeles region, tourism will lead to more trade.

LA Mayor: The first direct flight from Vietnam to US can be at the end of 2019

Los Angele Mayor Eric Garcetti - WMUR

The interview with Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, about the potential for the first direct flight between Vietnam and US and its imlications for trade development. 
Why do you think we need the direct flight between Vietnam and Los Angeles?
The direct flight from Vietnam to Los Angeles would be incredible. We have Vietnam as the fourth trading partner now. People know and love Vietnam and the Vietnamese people, the food, the culture and Vietnam also contributes the biggest group of our in staff flight in the world, maybe 260,000 people fly to Los Angeles from Vietnam but they have to start some places in the world. We have had the good meetings with the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Trade and other agencies, so we hope to get the FAA approval soon.
What are the left obstacles that we need to get over to have the direct flight?
I think two things. It is clear that Vietnam wants this, the United States wants this. But we need the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designate that the operations in Vietnam meet the standards for flights. And what we offer today is technical experts from our airports to Vietnam to assist with the technical matters, we know the FAA, we can help, so we will bring more people in the coming weeks or months to help Vietnam with the credittation. 
Second, technical challenges. Today there are direct flights from Singapore to Los Angeles, so with the Dreamliner 797, so it is possible now. Today 10% of people who come from Vietnam to Los Angeles are business people. The tourists of today can become the tomorrow business people. They can buy first class tickets, they help provide the seats. We are confident that we can overcome the technical barriers and bureaucracy barrier.
We think the good estimate will be the direct flight will be come true at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020, if the FAA can visit in August and if they can make it before the end of the year, then we will take next year to prepare, people may be able to fly at the end of that year. 
Which airlines will be authorised first to join in the direct flight?
We think the Vietnam Airlines will be the perfect partner. Vietnam Airlines has alligned with  Delta Airlines. Delta Airlines has the very large operation in Los Angeles. So Vietnamese can come to Los Angeles first. Second, they can go to Los Angeles to see the rest of America or they can come to America and visit the Latin American countries through Delta – the Sky Team alliance. 
The direct flight will be not just about passenger but also about cargo. Today about 750 million of cargoes go either to Vietnam or from Vietnam to Los Angeles, but they have to go to another country. Thus the Singapore, the South Korean and Japanese companies are getting the revenue that must have been for the Vietnamese companies. 
Once we have the direct flight, the trade will have more chance to develop, can you give me your own estimate?
We already have a third of all trade between Vietnam and US come through the Los Angeles region. We believe that tourism will lead to more trade. Today’s tourists will become tomorrow’s business people. We also want to promote trade through deep water ports. Now, the ships have to go through Singapore, South Korean, Japan and then to Los Angeles. We do believe that in the not distant future, the ships will go straight from Vietnam to Los Angeles or to a number of ports in North and South America. The flights can grow about 10% per year and the cargo can increase about 50% in the next 3 or 4 years. 
About the ports in Vietnam, we think they meet the standards so that is not an issues of evaluating ports we just need the shipping line to say: “Oh it is enough trade to go directly from Vietnam to Los Angeles”.
Thank you for sharing!