A Vietnam Airlines charter flight, sponsored by a Vietnamese billionaire, will transport overseas Vietnamese in Ukraine home amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the airline.
A Vietnam Airlines leader confirmed withTuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Saturday morning that the airline has prepared a Boeing Dreamliner 787 to fly to Ukraine and take the Vietnamese home.
The departing flight, which will carry Ukrainian people in Vietnam back to Ukraine, is scheduled for Sunday, March 29.
Meanwhile, it remains to be decided which airport in Vietnam the return trip — transporting Vietnamese people in Ukraine home — will land at, according to the Vietnam Airlines leader.
“The entire cost of the charter return flight is sponsored by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong,” the Vietnam Airlines leader said, without revealing the cost.
Pham Nhat Vuong is the chairman of Vietnam’s largest homegrown conglomerate Vingroup, which operates in several fields including agriculture, real estate, entertainment, technology, healthcare, and education.
“Vietnam Airlines received a request to operate the flight to Ukraine [and its return trip to Vietnam] from Vingroup three days ago,” the airline leader told Tuoi Tre on Saturday.
“The two sides have reached an agreement on the flight.”
Previously, Vietnam’s private Bamboo Airways had been chosen to operate the flight.
The startup carrier had even got authorized by the Vietnamese and Ukrainian governments for both the departure and return flights, with the departing trip also being scheduled for Sunday.
However, Bamboo Airways has unexpectedly withdrawn from the plan.
In an official refusal sent to the Ukrainian Embassy in Vietnam, the airline cited the complications of the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.
According to Vu Dinh Luyen, the honorary consul of Ukraine in Ho Chi Minh City, passengers do not need to visit ticket agents to get a ticket for the humanitarian flights.
Passengers who need a seat can contact the Embassy of Ukraine in Vietnam for the departing flight and the Embassy of Vietnam in Ukraine for the return trip.
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