Vietnam Airlines flew more than 100 passengers from the Chinese capital Beijing to Hanoi on Sunday, marking its first regular service between the two capitals in three years, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The Vietnam Airlines flight VN513 departed at 15:30 local time from Beijing and landed in Hanoi at 17:55 local time. Flights suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic resumed on March 19 when passengers were welcomed with a ceremony at Beijing airport with the attendance of Vietnamese embassy officials.
Vietnam Airlines, currently facing no competition on the route, is operating three flights per week between Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport and Beijing Capital International Airport, with the frequency due to further increase in mid-year.
The carrier's Airbus A321 aircraft, with seating between 178 and 203 passengers, will operate the flights.
China is one of Vietnam Airlines' largest international markets. The service resumption is expected to boost business travel and tourism in both directions, said local media.
A passenger on the inaugural flight told the national broadcaster VOV that he would take the opportunity of the post-pandemic economic recovery to meet local dealers to plan future growth in the Vietnamese market.
Vietnam Airlines started resuming flights to China in December last year when the carrier operated a flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Guangzhou in south China.
The airline has since resumed services from Hanoi to Guangzhou and from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to east China's Shanghai.
Vietnam Airlines will further expand its passenger service to China, particularly between Da Nang International Airport, which is close to the Southeast Asian country's tourist hub, and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chengdu, on wide-body Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 aircraft.