April 1, 2015
Heathrow welcomes Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines has begun its direct service to Heathrow Terminal 4 and operates four weekly services to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from the UK’s hub. With a new fleet of 787-9 Dreamliners arriving in the summer, the airline will operate five weekly services to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The route frequency will be further increased to a daily service as Vietnam Airlines benefits from the strong transfer traffic and premium passenger demand that Heathrow attracts. Because Heathrow is full, slot availability for long-haul routes is rare. The agreement with Vietnam Airlines took seven years to come to fruition, and Heathrow currently has a queue of thirty airlines waiting for slots. Although some airlines have attempted to operate from point-to-point airports, many more have instead opted to base their operations at hubs abroad. Last year alone, the UK lost over 5 million passengers to rival hubs, whilst a further 2.5 million passengers travelled from Heathrow via the UK’s European competitors due to the lack of long-haul connectivity caused by capacity constraints at Heathrow. With Vietnam identified by the government as one of the top twenty growth markets for UK businesses, this new route shows how Heathrow expansion is the best solution for the UK economy, creating up to £211bn in GDP and 180,000 new jobs.