National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines launched Sunday its inaugural flight from Phu Quoc Island, off the southern province of Kien Giang, to Singapore, the company’s first international service from the country’s biggest island.
The Phu Quoc-Singapore service is offered twice a week, on Thursday and Sunday, using an Airbus A321, according to Vietnam Airlines.
On those days the 1 hour and 45 minute flight is scheduled to leave Phu Quoc International Airport at 10:55 am Vietnam time, and depart at 2:50 pm local time from Singapore Changi Airport.
“Vietnam Airlines’ first international service from Phu Quoc to Singapore will help connect the island and the world, creating favorable conditions for the development of economic and tourism cooperation between Vietnam and other countries,” the airline’s general director, Pham Ngoc Minh, said in a statement.
Minh added that launching the new route is “an essential project” that will help meet the rising demand for travel and trade between Phu Quoc and other parts of the world.
“It also helps promote Phu Quoc to become an special economic zone of Vietnam in the future,” he said.
Nguyen Van The, Deputy Minister of Transport, said at the inauguration ceremony that the new service is significant to the attraction of direct investment to the island.
The Phu Quoc-Singapore service was first unveiled by Vietnam Airlines on September 24, together with the Phu Quoc-Siem Reapservice.
Siem Reap, the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, is a popular resort town known as the gateway to the Angkor region.
The Phu Quoc-Siem Reap service will operate thrice a week, using ATR-72 aircraft, starting on December 18, according to Vietnam Airlines.
The new air paths have been launched under a trade promotional program titled “Phu Quoc Destination,” collaboratively initiated by the Kien Giang People’s Committee, Vietnam Airlines, and Vinpearl JSC – a private Vietnamese company.
These international air routes are expected to pave the way for other projects and turn the island into a major special economic zone in the future, airline deputy general director Trinh Ngoc Thanh said in a statement.
Phu Quoc Island, known for its white-sand beaches and high-quality seafood, is on its way to becoming a special economic-administrative hub with a number of preferential treatments granted by the government, according to newswire Vietnam News Agency.
The island, measuring 589.23 km² in area and with a population of 93,000 people according to 2010 statistics, has recently become a magnet for investors.
Travel agencies from Cambodia and Thailand are working with their Vietnamese counterparts to offer a three-country tour package by sea travel with a stop on the island, while a VND1.25 trillion (US$58.83 million) passenger port has also been proposed there.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to develop Phu Quoc into a special economic-administrative region administered by the central government by 2020, according to the website of Phu Quoc District.
Kien Giang now eyes the arrival of 1-1.2 million visitors to the island in 2015, and 2-3 million tourists in 2020, with gross revenue amounting to $771 million by then.