Newly-minted Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways is preparing to operate a repatriation flight between Ho Chi Minh City and Milan’s Malpensa Airport on Friday, 12 June.
Launched in January 2019, the airline expected to operate regular European services by March this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, intercontinental runs have instead been limited to several repatriation efforts – covering the cities of London, Prague and Vilnius.
Though the airline claims to have repatriated over 600 EU citizens in total, it has not yet operated service to Italy or any other Mediterranean location. Given relatively high coronavirus counts in the country, the airline plans to apply stringent biosecurity measures to the flight.
Bamboo Airways flight number QH9911 is scheduled to depart Vietnam at 3:00am (local time) at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. It is expected to arrive at 11:00am (local time).
The airline said that the flight is not only aimed towards meeting the increasing repatriated demands of the Italians stranded in Vietnam, but also has crucial diplomatic significance in strengthening the 47 years of diplomatic relationship between Vietnam and Italy.
Like other Vietnamese airlines, Bamboo Airways has benefited from the robust national response and lack of coronavirus cases in the country. To date, Vietnam has reported only 300 cases and no deaths as a result of the coronavirus.
Accordingly, the airline plans to restore 90 per cent of domestic flight routes over the course of June, and even plans to up the number of flights on the Hanoi–Ho Chi Minh City route to 16 per day.
The news comes just weeks after Vietnam’s flag carrier – the state-owned Vietnam Airlines – announced a full recovery of its internal network. The government-owned airline has also unveiled the launch of six new routes to the country’s Central Highlands, including Da Lat and Phu Quoc.