In February 2019, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted a Category 1 safety rating to Vietnam, based on an assessment of the safety oversight provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV). The CAAV started preparing for the evaluation since 2012 with active support from Boeing. Vietnam failed the test twice before being granted the Category 1 rating now. Forty-nine problems, more than half of them related to air safety, were found in the first CAT 1 conducted in 2013. The second test in 2017 in response to the new requirements for opening routes to the US found good performance but there were still areas to be addressed.
Category 1 means air carriers from a country may initiate or continue service to the US and participate in reciprocal code-share arrangements with US airlines. Vietnamese airlines will be able to establish direct services to the US after the necessary remaining steps are completed, including Vietnamese airports earning approval to comply with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) security standards and recommended practices from the US Transportation Security Administration, and Vietnamese airlines earning economic authority from the US Department of Transportation.
Vietnam’s national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, newly-launched Bamboo Airways and budget-carrier Vietjet Air have all expressed interest in establishing direct flights to the US to meet market demand. Vietnam Airlines expects to have aircraft that can fly directly to the US by 2022.
(Sources: Vietnam News; The Voice of Vietnam)