Bamboo Airways permitted to operate direct flights to Japan hinh anh 1An aircraft of Bamboo Airways (Photo: VNA)

Tokyo (VNA) - Bamboo Airways will fly directly between Vietnam and Japan from May 20.

The Vietnamese carrier has secured permission from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to operate seven flights a week on each of three routes: HCM City - Tokyo Narita, HCM City - Osaka, and Hanoi - Osaka.

The carrier has, however, postponed the launch of these services because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bamboo Airways Deputy General Director Truong Phuong Thanh said.

It initially planned to launch its first flight on the routes in May but the pandemic has dampened demand and created problems for the carrier’s preparations, he said.

Bamboo will work with agencies in Japan and tour operators to restart services once the market rebounds and all necessary conditions have been met, he added.

Thanh also revealed that new-generation B787-9 Dreamliner and A321neo aircraft will be used on the routes.

He also spoke highly of the potential of the Japanese market, saying that the number of Japanese tourists to Vietnam has been on the rise for a decade, growing 8 to 10 percent annually.

Close to 1.45 million people travelled between Vietnam and Japan last year, an increase of 18.9 percent against 2018. Of these, 495,000 were Vietnamese, up 27.3 percent, while 952,000 were Japanese, up 15.2 percent.

About 370,000 Vietnamese people are living in Japan - its third-largest community of foreigners, after Chinese and South Koreans, he noted./.