Vietnamese low cost “bikini airline” is opening first direct routes to India. VietJet has announced the launch of two direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi (Vietnam) to New Delhi (India) starting in December 2019.

The airline has announced that the Ho Chi Minh City – New Delhi route will operate four return flights per week starting from December 6, 2019. The flights will take place on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. The following day, VietJet is also launching Hanoi – New Delhi route. The three return flights per week will take off on every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday starting from December 7, 2019.

The announcement of the Vietnamese low-cost company VietJet arrival in India’s booming aviation economy attracted a lot of attention in March 2018. It was not because of its competitive prices or the new route  it was opening.

“In particular, the two first direct flights from Vietnam to India help passengers to save a lot of time and money,” is noted in a statement by the airline.

In the first half of 2019, the airline operated 68,821 flights and transported 13.5 million passengers, of which approximately 4 million traveled on international routes. The international market is where the Vietnamese carrier still sees “a large room to grow”, as the proportion of international revenue has reached 54% of its total air transport revenue during the period.

Reports indicate the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could grant Category 1 rating to Vietnam “soon”, allowing the Southeast Asian nation’s airlines to fly to the U.S. and codeshare with American carriers. Vietnam’s efforts to gain the top safety ranking have been backed by U.S. giant Boeing, as the country’s airlines are major customers of both Boeing and Airbus jets.

In 1H19, VietJet launched nine new routes to Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, bringing the number of its international routes to 78, out of 120 total routes. Its international network currently encompass destinations in China, Japan,  Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia.

Vietjet, Vietnam’s low cost carrier, and Boeing has just officially confirmed a deal for 100 737 MAX jets, boosting the total to a whooping 200. While the airline now is the biggest MAX 10 type customer in Asia, are 200 planes enough to be the biggest 737 MAX customer in the region?