Direct flights to Vietnam a possibility
If weekly direct flights to Vietnam took off they could open new opportunities for exporters and kick off international aviation expansion from Hedland, according to Port Hedland Chamber of Commerce president Peter Carter.
Mr Carter has been in discussions with Vietnam Airlines for the past 12 months to start flights from Hedland to Ho Chi Minh City.
He said he was excited about what a direct service could bring to the Pilbara.
“There’s so much potential in this market — Vietnam is screaming for fresh produce, so these flights won’t just be for passengers,” he said.
“We will be sending Pilbara and Kimberly produce straight to hotels in Asia.”
He said the service could also open other opportunities, including affordable access to other Asian countries and cultural exchanges between schools.
However, Mr Carter told the Telegraph on Monday a deal to charter an Airbus A320 or A321 from Vietnam Airlines was close but had not yet been confirmed, although he remained confident he could get a Saturday service to Ho Chi Minh City up and running soon.
He was still awaiting prices from the airline at the time of print. He said he hoped the service would be the start of more direct flights in coming years, with plans for flights toAuckland from March, 2019, and Shanghai later in 2019.
Port Hedland International Airport general manager Rod Evans said the flights were not driven by the airport but he supported the move.
It is understood flight bookings would need to be done through a newtravel agency that would be set up in the Pilbara Photographics store in South Hedland Shopping Centre.
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