Vietnam Airlines on April 19 announced that it plans to fly direct from Hanoi and HCM City to London by the end of this year.

Pham Ngoc Minh, Vietnam Airlines' president said: "England has become one of the most important trading partners in the European Union with Vietnam", adding that nearly 90,000 English tourists had come to Viet Nam last year, an increase of 28 percent compared to 2009.

He made his statement at a conference co-organised by Vietnam Airlines and the Vietnamese embassy in England on April 19 in London.

UK Trade and Investment Deputy Director in Asia Rob Lally said Viet Nam had become a favourite destination for English tourists and businessmen. The airline hopes that Vietnam will become a tourist hub for holidaymakers wishing to travel to Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, he said.

Vietnam Airlines plans to use Boeing B777-200ER to fly from Noi Bai and Tan Son Nhat to Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Four flights a week are initially scheduled, rising to seven by 2014.

About 40,000 Vietnamese are living and working in England and about 7,000 Vietnamese students are studying there, according to Minh./.