Five international carriers have registered to open new routes or reopen flights to Vietnam by the end of the year, bringing the number of foreign airlines operating in Vietnam to 48.

They include Air Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Jeju Air (the Republic of Korea ), Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudi Arab), United Airlines (the US ), Air China Cargo ( China ). Air China Cargo is the sole cargo carrier, according to a report on the Government website.

United Airlines will fly San Francisco-Hong Kong-HCM City seven flights a week each way while Continental Airlines has ceased operation on this route.

Jeju Air plans seven flights a week on the Seoul-HCM City route.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam, other airlines also expressed interest in opening new routes or expanding operations in Vietnam . Singapore Silk Air plans to fly Singapore-Hanoi. It already flies to Da Nang in central Vietnam .

Emirates, of the United Arab Emirates , expressed interest in flying Dubai-HCM City .

Last month, United Airlines and Japanese carrier ANA were given the go-ahead to co-ordinate on price and flight networks from Vietnam-US, via Hong Kong and Japan , the Government website reported.

Also in March, Cebu Pacific of the Philippines launched two flights a week on the Manila-Hanoi route.

In the same month, Saudi Airlines Cargo, of Saudi Arab, debuted a cargo service linking HCM City-Middle East-Frankfurt twice a week.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has bolstered infrastructure investment and construction, including a plan to build Long Thanh Airport in the south, improve Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi , and refurbish Cam Ranh Airport in central Khanh Hoa province.

The International Air Transport Association reported last year that Vietnam would rank third among the world’s fastest growing markets for both passenger and cargo services. The forecast was based on a 5 percent annual aviation growth throughout the world compared to Vietnam 's growth rate, which will hit 10 percent by 2014.-VNA