At the signing ceremony. (Source: VNA)

Paris (VNA) – Vietnam Airlines and Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance (AFM KLM E&M) inked an agreement for the maintenance of Boeing 787-9 engines worth 500 million USD in Paris on March 26.

The signing was witnessed by President of the National Assembly of France Francois de Rugy and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, who is on an official visit to France.

Under the document, AFM KLM E&M will maintain 20 GEnx engines of Vietnam Airlines for 12 years and provide the carrier with spare engine access to guarantee seamless continuity of its operations.

The event marks efforts made by Vietnam’s aviation sector in fulfilling its role as an economic bridge between Europe and Asia over the past two decades.

The signing took place with Vietnam and France celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties. France has committed to supporting Vietnam in establishing a comprehensive relationship with the EU and Vietnam will help France and other EU nations become partners of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

Duong Tri Thanh, General Director of Vietnam Airlines, told Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper that Vietnam Airlines is proud to be the only Vietnamese air carrier to run direct flights between Vietnam and France over the past 15 years.

Vietnam Airlines has always regarded France as a strategic market to access Europe and North America, he said.

The firm opened a representative office in France 25 years ago. On July 2, 1994, the airline launched an air route between Vietnam and France through Dubai, using Boeing 767 aircraft. Ten years later, the carrier opened non-stop routes from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City to Paris.

Thanks to such efforts, the number of Vietnam Airlines’ passengers traveling to and from France has increased sharply, from 800,000 during 1994-2003 to about 3.2 million in the following ten years.

In 2018, the carrier is expected to transport 4 million passengers en Vietnam-France route.

At the end of 2017, Vietnam Airlines signed a joint venture deal with Air France, meeting the travel demands of passengers and helping increase economic ties between the two countries as well as Southeast Asia and Europe.

Vietnam Airlines is the only Vietnamese air carrier to conduct flights from the Southeast Asian nation to France, with 10 per week.-VNA