Boeing is working closely with Vietnam Airlines, the state-operated carrier, to help it improve its safety rating. If the airline can earn a Category 1 rating by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it will be given permission to start offering non-stop flights between Vietnam and the United States.
At this time, the FAA has Vietnam Airlines rated as a Category 2 airline. This means that the airline does not meet all of the safety and personnel guidelines that the FAA requires for an airline to operate within U.S. borders. The FAA is currently reviewing the latest application by the carrier to see if the airline has improved enough for the coveted Category 1 rating.
Boeing is working closely with the airline in an effort to improve its rating. The airline has a pending order for Boeing wide-body 777-8 jets, but this order cannot be finalized until the airline receives its security approval. Both the airline and the jet manufacturer concurred it would be a mistake to complete this purchase if Vietnam Airlines could not fly the routes it desired with the new planes.
Vietnam Airlines hopes that it will be granted Category 1 clearance soon and that it can begin operating non-stop flights as soon as 2019. The carrier stated that its first two destinations would most likely be Los Angeles and San Francisco. At this time, Vietnam Airlines offers seven flights per week to the United States through their codeshare agreements with other carriers. The airline hopes it will soon be able to offer these flights under its own brand.