Vietnam and the UK signed an aviation cooperation agreement on Dec. 8, during National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s ongoing official visit to the European country.

The agreement, signed by Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang and UK Under-Secretary of State for Transport Mike Penning, is expected to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese and UK airlines to develop air routes between the two countries as well as encourage their businesses to invest in the aviation industries.

The opening of direct routes to the UK by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on Dec. 9 not only marks a new milestone in transport cooperation but also helps boost economic, trade and tourism cooperation between the two nations.

At their working session after the signing ceremony, Minister Thang said he is pleased with the lifting of the Vietnam-UK relationship to the level of strategic partnership in September 2010, describing it a foundation for the future development of bilateral ties in general and transport cooperation in particular.

He spoke highly of the results of transport cooperation between the two countries over the past years and suggested the UK Government and Transport Department continue support for Vietnam ’s aviation sector as well as encourage UK businesses to invest in transport infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian country.

The Vietnamese minister also proposed that the UK Government should provide more opportunities for the two sides to increase the exchange of information about the maritime sector, including maritime development policies and maritime laws.

The UK Under-Secretary of State for Transport shared his guest’s views, saying that the two sides will step up cooperation in aviation security and safety, and maritime safety, especially in fighting armed pirates./.