Vietnam will open a straight north-south flight path through the airspace of Laos and Cambodia next June, said Lai Xuan Thanh, head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
Thanh told news website Dan Tri Tuesday the decision was reached by Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian aviation authorities following a recent meeting in Da Nang City.
“We reached an agreement with Laos and Cambodia to open the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City straight flight path in June 2015.
“They agreed that the optimum flight level for the path will be FL350 (35,000 feet).”
However, Thanh said, the two countries will only be allowed to fly one-way from HCMC to Hanoi in the first phase.
In the coming time, they will discuss the possibility of reciprocal flights.
The governments of Laos and Cambodia have yet to decide if they grant CAAV's request to halve the transit fees imposed on Vietnamese carriers once the flight path comes into operation.
On September 3, Vietnam Airlines and CAAV ran flight simulations of the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City flight path through Lao and Cambodian airspace.
The new flight path is 85 kilometers shorter than the current route that follows the coastline, according to the simulations. Pilots said that the path saved five minutes from the total flight time.
The new flight path also saved 190 kilograms of fuel, according to flight simulation results.
Vietnam Airlines and the CAAV said they have tested both types of planes used on the route: the Boeing 777 and Airbus 321.