First Access to Vietnam in decades under tentative codesharing arrangement

by Canadian Shipper

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively granted rights to three U.S. airlines to provide air service to Vietnam in conjunction with their third-country airline partners.

“Travelers now will have access to Vietnam in conjunction with U.S. airline services for the first time in decades,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta. DOT tentatively awarded U.S.-Vietnam code-sharing rights to Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines. A total of 21 round-trip code-sharing flights are available to be awarded, and the department’s tentative decision gave each carrier seven of the flights.

In a March 2000 Memorandum of Discussion, the United States and Vietnam agreed to allow code-sharing services between their countries. These services could be operated through arrangements between U.S. and third-country carriers, as in today’s tentative decision, as well as between U.S. and Vietnamese airlines and between Vietnamese airlines and third-country carriers. Code sharing is a common airline industry practice in which one airline offers service in its own name to a particular destination, but some or all of the transportation is provided by another carrier which carries the designator code of the airline that sold the transportation. The March 2000 memorandum did not address direct service by U.S. and Vietnamese carriers with their own aircraft.

Delta would code-share with its partner Air France for service to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Northwest plans to place its code on flights of Malaysia Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. United would code-share with partners All Nippon Airlines, Thai Airways International and Lufthansa German Airlines for service to Ho Chi Minh City.

The only other existing U.S.-Vietnam service is operated under a code-share arrangement between Vietnam Airlines and China Airlines, using the latter’s direct service to the United States.

This decision allows interested parties to file objections before the decision is made final. Objections are due within 10 days, and answers to objections are due five days afterward. After this comment period, the department will issue a final decision.

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