National carrier Vietnam Airlines announced Monday it will launch this April a non-stop service connecting Moscow and Cam Ranh on Vietnam's central coast.
Nguyen The Nam, chief representative of the airline in Russia, said there will be one weekly flight every Friday starting April 5 between Domodedovo airport in Moscow and Cam Ranh airport in Khanh Hoa Province.
Russian visitors to Vietnam in 2012 increased 25 percent over the previous year, and are expected to go up a further 25 percent this year, according to tourism authorities.
Vladivostok Air, the largest carrier in the Russian Far East, had in late 2010 launched two routes from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk to Cam Ranh, which was upgraded into an international airport in August 2007. But flights have been seasonal.
Many Russians have also arrived at Cam Ranh, which is near the resort town of Nha Trang, on chapter flights.
The Khanh Hoa administration said in a Tuoi Tre report the airport received one million visitors during the first seven months of 2012, estimating the number would jump to 2.5 million in 2015, with most foreign visitors coming from Russia.
The town and the province have been familiar to Russian people for a long time since the Russian Navy had been using Cam Ranh port, then a military one, between 1979 and 2002, making it Russia's biggest Naval base outside its territory.
Cam Ranh in 2004 was turned into a civil port. But President Truong Tan San said during a Moscow visit last July that Vietnam will allow Russia to build a shipyard for repair and maintenance services in the port.
Vietnam also plans to establish a submarine base at Cam Ranh and it is likely to involve Russia, which has been given an order for six Kilo-class submarines worth US$2 billion. Two were delivered last yeaar.
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