Prague, Czech Republic – The first direct flights between Vietnam and the Czech Republic could be launched in the coming months, according to local reports.
Bamboo Airways could launch first direct flights between Prague and Vietnam
According to local daily E15, Vietnamese low-cost carrier Bamboo Airways could soon open the first direct air route between Prague and Vietnam.
Owned by Vietnamese holding company FLC, Bamboo Airways launched its operations in January this year and aims to connect Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing air transport markets in the world according to analysts, with major international destinations in Asia, Europe and North America.
Vietnamese representative in the Czech government council for national minorities Pham Huu Uyen confirmed that both parties were interested in launching the new route. According to Prague Vaclav Havel airport director Václav Řehoř, a first meeting between the two parties already took place last month, and discussions are still underway.
Although no further details have been provided, initial flights are more likely to link Prague to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon), rather than to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi in the north, according to local reports.
The Czech Republic has one of the largest Vietnamese communities in Europe
Negotiations regarding a direct air route between the Czech Republic and Vietnam, two countries with strong historical ties, have been long in the making. Hanoi agreed to open direct flights during Czech President Milos Zeman’s official visit to Vietnam in 2017.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is due to pay an official visit to the Czech Republic from April 16-18 to discuss bilateral and trade relations, which stood at nearly 1 billion euros last year, according to the Czech statistical office.
The Czech Republic counts one of the biggest Vietnamese communities in Europe (the largest per capita), with over 100.000 Vietnamese people currently residing in the country (the third largest minority after Ukrainian and Slovak nationals). This diaspora, largely well-integrated in Czech society today, finds its roots in the communist era, when many Vietnamese came to socialist Czechoslovakia as students or guest workers. A large part of them stayed there after the fall of communism in Europe.