HANOI, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam Airlines plans to launch direct flights to the United States late next year, but local experts said the air route will cause big losses for the national flag carrier, local media reported on Monday.
"The direct air route (between Vietnam and the United States) will be heavily loss-making. Vietnam Airlines can endure that if its other air routes compensate for the loss," online newspaper VietNamNet quoted an aviation expert as saying.
A representative of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said that the country will not force carriers to open direct routes to the United States, and that they can drop plans if the future routes do not meet their expectations.
In 2007, the administration predicted that if Vietnam Airlines opened direct routes to the United States, it would incur losses of some 30 million U.S. dollars in the first five years of running the service, but its prestige and competitiveness would be enhanced.
As fuel prices are declining, and demand for travel and trade exchange is increasing, the potential loss will be streamlined, said local experts.
Vietnam's aviation sector served 38.3 million passengers in the first 10 months of this year, up 11.4 percent year-on-year, said Vietnam's General Statistics Office.
The sector also transported 262,100 tons of cargoes in 10 months, up 8.8 percent year-on-year, the office said.