Vietnam Civil Aviation Department was established by the Government in January, 1956, with a fleet of only 5 aircraft, such as the Il-14, AN-2 or Aero-45.
In September, 1956, domestic flights started.
Between 1976 and 1980, the airline expanded its Asian operations, reaching Laos, Cambodia and China with regular flights and providing charter services to Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
In late 1980, Vietnam Civil Aviation became a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
In 1989, Vietnam Airlines was established as a state-owned enterprise.
In April, 1993, Vietnam Airlines was officially established as the country’s national flag carrier.
During late May, 1996, Vietnam Airlines Corporation was born, bringing together Vietnam Airlines and 20 small aviation businesses.
In 2003, the airline received its first Boeing 777 and, three years later, Vietnam Airlines’ fleet was one of the most modern in the region.
On June 20, 2005, Vietnam Airlines began direct flights to Germany in addition to the two flights a week currently offered between Vietnam and Frankfurt via Moscow. The new route, Vietnam Airlines’ second direct route to Europe after Paris, was established as part of a rapid route expansion strategy and to meet the increasing volume of travelers flying between the two countries, after an increase of about 70% in 2004.
In 2006, Vietnam Airlines joined IATA as an official member, after being awarded the IOSA certificate, a strict safety standard set by Aviation Quality Services (AQS).
In August 2008, Nagoya was added to Vietnam Airlines’ route network, the airline ‘s fourth point served in Japan besides Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo.
In 2009, Vietnam Airlines and the Government of Cambodia established Cambodia Angkor Air, a joint-venture with 49% and 51% stockholding, respectively. The new Cambodian national airline started flying in July using ATR-72 equipment and later, starting in September, an Airbus A321.
In 2010, Vietnam Airlines was restructured into an LLC and renamed Vietnam Airlines Company Limited, with a seven-seat management board, members of which are appointed by the Vietnamese Prime Minister, overseeing the company.
In June 2010, Vietnam Airlines was the first Southeast Asian carrier to join SkyTeam, affirming its international standard services, as well as its new position on the global aviation map as the strategic partner of the alliance in Southeast Asia region.
In February 2012, the majority stake in Jetstar Pacific of 70% was transferred from the Vietnamese State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) to Vietnam Airlines, with Qantas holding the balance.
In July 2014, Vietnam Airlines introduced a new route to Tokyo-Haneda from Hanoi.
In summer 2015, Vietnam Airlines became the second airline worldwide to operate at the same time both next-gen aircraft Boeing B787-9 & Airbus A350. Vietnam Airlines received in late June its first Airbus A350-900, becoming the second operator in the world, after Qatar Airways. In August, the airline received its first Boeing B787-9.
In July 2016, Vietnam Airlines received the 4-Star Airline Certificate from Skytrax, the world’s leading international air transport rating organization.
In February 2017, Vietnam Airlines signed a long-term lease contract with ACG (Aviation Capital Group) for six Airbus A321neo aircraft, part of the 20 A321neo aircraft that airline planned to add to its fleet in 2018-2019 to add domestic and regional flights after carrying a record number of 20 million passengers in 2016.
For summer 2018, Vietnam Airlines is looking to wet lease regional jets to provide a supplemental capacity to compensate for the Airbus A321neo delivery delays. Set back by multiple PW1100G engine delays, Vietnam Airlines expects to receive at most one A321neo in 2018.
During its history, Vietnam Airlines was involved in only three deadly incidents, all involving Russian-made aircraft and occurring in heavy rain, on landing. The first of these incidents took place in 1988, when a Tu-134 crashed on approach to Bankok, killing 76 or the 81 people on board, while the last one was recorded in early September, 1997, when another Tu-134 crashed on approach to Phnom Penh’s Pochentong Airport, killing 65 of the 66 passengers on board.