Prague, Czech Republic – Vietnamese low-cost start-up carrier Bamboo Airways announced it will be launching direct flights between Prague and Hanoi in April.
Bamboo Airways to launch first Prague-Hanoi direct flights
Bamboo Airways, which started operations in January 2019, plans to connect the two cities twice a week and operate the route with brand-new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners – the first of which was received last month – with a 300-passenger capacity.
Bamboo Airways is due to acquire four more Dreamliners before the end of the month.
“Opening direct regular connection to south-east Asia has been part of Prague Airport’s long-term route development strategy […] Once Bamboo Airways starts their direct flights, Prague will become one of the first European destinations for the Vietnamese carrier”, Vaclav Rehor, chairman of Prague Airport’s board of directors, said in a statement.
“Based on our estimates, the new Prague-Hanoi service with two frequencies a week could be used by more than 50,000 passengers per year in both directions”, he added. According to some reports, some 100,000 people already fly between the Czech Republic and Vietnam every year despite the lack of direct routes, indicating a strong margin of growth for the Vietnamese carrier in the near future.
Today, anyone wishing to travel from Prague to Hanoi or vice versa has to take transit flights through Moscow, Vienna, Bangkok, Doha, Frankfurt or Zurich – to cite only the most common stopovers.
Bringing closer two countries with strong historical ties
Truong Phuong Thanh, deputy-general director of Bamboo Airways, explained how important it was to connect two countries with such strong historic ties: “During the initial stage of research, exploration and launch in the European market, the Czech Republic was one of the destinations considered by Bamboo Airways as the first point in its flight network, which will be exploited as the ‘new gateway’ of this old continent”.
Other than the Prague-Hanoi route, other direct flights between the two countries may reportedly be launched in the future as well.
Officially numbering at 70,000 – although some estimates put their numbers above 100,000 – the Vietnamese community is the third-largest minority in the Czech Republic. Their integration in Czech society dates back to the 1980s, when Vietnam struck an agreement with then-communist Czechoslovakia to send guest students and workers to acquire know-how and knowledge in the socialist country. Many decided to stay after the fall of communism and have since then opened businesses and started a family.
Negotiations for a direct air connection between the Czech and Vietnamese capitals have been long in the making. Both sides agreed to launch direct flights between their two countries during a 2017 visit of Czech President Milos Zeman in Hanoi. Last year, Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport and Bamboo Airways signed a memorandum of understanding meant to pave the way for the launch of the Prague-Hanoi flights.
According to reports, Hanoi has also agreed to offer visa waivers to Czech citizens visiting the communist south-east Asian country for up to 15 days.