HANOI, VIETNAMVietnam Airlines is planning to launch scheduled flights between Vietnam and the U.S. from October, seeking to fulfill a dream of nearly two decades.

The state-owned carrier will deploy either its Boeing 787s or Airbus A350s on this route from Ho Chi Minh City to San Francisco with one stopover, CEO Le Hong Ha told Bloomberg news agency.

Since last year, the airline has been operating irregular charter flights to repatriate stranded Vietnamese from the U.S. during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vietnam Airlines recorded a loss of about VND7 trillion ($306.65 million) in the first half of this year. It is the country's worst-hit carrier by the pandemic.

The airline in 2003 was ordered by the Ministry of Transport to begin direct services to the U.S. by 2005. However, concerns about profitability kept the airline from realizing the goal.

Other Vietnamese airlines like budget carrier Vietjet and startup Bamboo Airways have all voiced interest in flying directly to the U.S.

Bamboo Airways in May acquired slots to operate regular direct flights from HCMC to San Francisco and Los Angeles from September 1st, but it is unclear whether flights would commence this year.

In the first seven months of this year, Vietnamese carriers served 13.7 million passengers, down 32 percent year-on-year, according to General Statistics Office.