Since its founding 30 years ago in 1993, Vietnam Airlines – the national flag carrier of Vietnam – has been a pioneer in modernization, positively contributing to the country’s comprehensive development and global integration. Mr. Dang Ngoc Hoa – Chairman of the Vietnam Airlines’ Board of Directors – spoke with Heritage about this incredible journey.

Mr. Dang Ngoc Hoa - Vietnam Airlines' Chairman of the Board

This year, our national flag carrier celebrates its 30th birthday. Can you tell us about Vietnam Airlines’ role and contributions to our nation’s development on this special occasion?

Chairman Dang Ngoc Hoa: Vietnam Airlines was formally established in 1993 as a state-owned, large-scale air transport company, only two years after the Seventh National Congress adopted the political program to develop a socialist-oriented market economy in 1991, and almost a year before the United States completely lifted its trade embargo on Vietnam in February 1994.

Throughout our journey of development, we’ve taken great pride in serving as Vietnam’s link to the rest of the world. Since our founding, we have completed over 1.6 million flights, delivered 4.5 million tons of cargo, and securely transported 300 million passengers worldwide.

More than simply being a carrier, we have opened up investment, commercial, and travel opportunities nationwide, as well as between Vietnam and other countries and regions. We have also effectively fulfilled all our political, diplomatic, security, and national defense missions.

At the same time, we are a pioneer in the civil aviation industry, opening new flight routes, operating next-generation aircraft, developing aviation policies, and cooperating with international associations such as IATA, ICAO, and SkyTeam. Vietnam Airlines is also a cradle of high-quality aviation manpower. As a result of their training and experience at Vietnam Airlines, thousands of our pilots, flight attendants, and staff members have branched out and moved up the career ladder at other organizations and companies, becoming the driving force in transforming the Vietnamese aviation sector into a world-class industry.

Vietnam Airlines has undergone many dramatic transformations in the past 30 years and aspires to become a digital, global, 5-star airline. Can you tell us how this transformation will benefit your customers?

Vietnam Airlines began with just 201 employees and a fleet of fewer than 30 aircraft, operating in a challenging economic context. Thanks to our employees’ competence, their incredible willpower, and under the proper development guidance by our Party and Government, Vietnam Airlines has achieved many remarkable accomplishments in the past 30 years, bringing exceptional value to our customers and continuing to be an economic leader in Vietnam.

Our fleet has almost quadrupled to 100 aircraft, making it the largest in Vietnam and one of the largest in Southeast Asia, mostly comprised of next-generation Airbus and Boeing planes. With nearly 100 flight routes connecting 1,150 destinations operated by Vietnam Airlines and SkyTeam partners, our passengers can visit every continent on the planet.

We have always considered every flight to be “an ambassador of the skies,” helping to promote Vietnam’s image to the world. Customers love Vietnam Airlines thanks to its absolute safety, punctuality, 4-star service that borders on 5-star, and the Vietnamese characteristics that define our services, such as our flight attendants’ ao dai, the cuisine, and images of our iconic landmarks.

When you travel with us, you also enjoy convenience, safety, and the beauty of Vietnamese cultural values. These are the values that we have been imparting to our clients over the past 30 years. These values will continue to be promoted and refined in the future as Vietnam Airlines strives to become a 5-star airline.

How will Vietnam Airlines continue its glorious 30-year journey?

The past 30 years have been a remarkable period, with all staff members striving to not only better themselves but also the national flag carrier. However, it’s not always been smooth sailing. We have had to face numerous wars, natural disasters, diseases, economic crises, and fierce competition from other airlines. However, thanks to our tradition of resilience, personal efforts, and support from external partners and organizations, we have successfully overcome these challenges and expanded our operations, as well as expertly completed the tasks entrusted to us by the Party, our Government, and the people.

This year, with the motto “Dedication – Proactive breakthroughs – Sustainable development”, Vietnam Airlines continues to define itself as a traditional yet energetic airline that will never stop innovating, improving its efficiency, contributing to society, delivering great experiences to our customers, and contributing to Vietnam’s socio-economic development. We will focus on the following major strategies and missions: Ensuring absolute operational safety; restoring the entire flight network and opening new routes; increasing the exploitation of major markets such as China, India, and Southeast Asia; implementing the Uplifting Services program for a new period with the purpose of becoming a global 5-star airline; and intensifying total digital transformation towards becoming a leading digital airline company in the region.

There are many hurdles to overcome, but all our staff members are united, driven, and devoted to sustainably developing Vietnam Airlines, winning the love and trust of passengers, and continuing to write history for the national flag carrier.

Today is tomorrow’s past. We understand that we must do our best so that when we look back, we will feel proud of the journey we have undertaken, just as we do at this moment.