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|Air New Zealand’s inaugural flight between Auckland and Ho Chi Minh City touched down at Tan Son Nhat international airport|
Flight NZ269 departed Auckland international airport at 12:45pm last Saturday and arrived into Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat international airport at 8:00pm on Saturday local time (1am Sunday NZ time).
|Key representatives from Air New Zealand, New Zealand and Vietnam|
Dignitaries in the 11-hour flight include Minister for Economic Development, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce and Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Viet Dung.
Air New Zealand chief sales and commercial officer Cam Wallace, who also travelled on the inaugural flight, said that the addition of Ho Chi Minh City would take the airline’s total number of international destinations to 30. This new service is a further expansion of our presence in Southeast Asia and our strategic focus on the Pacific Rim.
According to Air New Zealand, there is a surge in number of tourists from New Zealand to Vietnam over the past few years, a jump from 12,400 tourist in 2013 to 15,000 tourists in 2014. Thus, the direct link is expected to meet the rising demand in the coming time.
Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Economic Development, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Steven Joyce said the official launch of the Ho Chi Minh City flight was important for New Zealand's relationship with Southeast Asia, as Vietnam had one of the world's fastest growing economies and was open to trade, having joined the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
Truong Quang Nghia, Minister of Transport emphasised that this event marked a new milestone in bringing people of the two countries closer. In particular, the direct route will help facilitate investors and enterprises from New Zealand as well as enhancing trade collaboration.
“This connection will offer Vietnamese people the chance to taste better quality apples and kiwis from New Zealand for a cheaper price, while mangos, dragon fruit and other Vietnamese products could reach the New Zealand market. Education and tourism opportunities between the two countries will also be developed,” he further noted.
The Ho Chi Minh City service will operate three times per week from now until the end of October, using Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
Air New Zealand’s Ho Chi Minh City service follows the launches of new services to Houston, Buenos Aires and Beijing in December last year and the airline will also launch non-stop flights between Auckland and Manila in the Philippines in December this year.
Air New Zealand is a member of Star Alliance network, which was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller.