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Aviation Authorities to Blame for Vietnam-US Direct Route Delay

Travelers might have to wait until the end of this year to start flying directly from Vietnam to the US due to issues with the Southeast Asian country’s aviation authorities.

According to Tuoi Tre, national carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) has met all of the requirements to fly to the US, but the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) still falls short of the safety assessment standard stipulated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The current law mandates that any country wishing to fly to the US must pass the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program. The test ensures that the foreign aviation authority provides sufficient oversight on carriers that conduct business in the US in accordance with international flying standards.

At the moment, CAAV belongs to Category 2, while a Category 1 rating is needed for Vietnamese carriers to fly directly to the US. The FAA only completed its final assessment of Vietnam’s aviation agency in May this year.

Dinh Viet Thanh, the CAAV's director, told the news source that he’s confident that Vietnam will achieve the Category 1 rating to fly to the US as his team was well-prepared for the test.

“Vietnam Airlines is now awaiting an official decision from the FAA, which will come no sooner than the end of the third quarter of this year,” Thang shared.

If things go according to plan, VNA aims to establish a direct route to the US, most likely to a West Coast destination such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. Flights on this route will make a quick stop in Japan to refuel and receive in-flight service supplies.

It’s also important to note that nonstop and direct flights are different, as the latter usually involve a midpoint stop where passengers remain on the aircraft.

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