More than bikinis: the face of Vietnam’s flourishing aviation
While Vietjet is often cited for its raunchy flight inaugurations that included bikini-wearing flight attendants, the airline is no joke. The carrier’s latest purchase announcement of 50 A321neos has boosted its total aircraft orders to a whopping 325. This impressive number supports the equally important growth of the Vietnamese aviation market.
Vietjet took the opportunity of French Prime minister Edouard Philippe visit to Vietnam to finalize an order of 50 additional A321neos from Airbus. A deal, worth $6.5 billion in list prices, increases the number of A320 family jets in the airline’s fleet to 171. But impressive fleet size is not the only indicator that Vietjet is prospering.
The Vietnamese LCC saw a strong growth in its third quarter earnings of 2018, reaching a revenue of 12,713 billion Dong (approximately $514,000), an 105% increase compared to the same period in the previous year, despite September being traditionally known as a low period for the aviation industry. Vietjet currently operates 103 routes, of which 39 are domestic and 64 international. The carrier is also expected to announce soon the opening of its own flight school, Vietjet Air Academy, built in cooperation with Airbus for a total of $170 million.
But the airline is not the only player in Vietnam’s booming aviation industry. Several airlines attempted to harvest the fruits of this prosperous economy. With a 220% increase of its GDP in the last ten years, its citizens are more and more incline to travel, a situation which fits perfectly the low-cost model.
The last in line, Bamboo Airways, was supposed to start operating on October 10, 2018. However, it failed to acquire the necessary permits on time, and postpone its first flight to the end of 2018. Just like VietJet, the company is currently awaiting on aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus (24 A320neos and 20 B787 Dreamliners).
Opportunities also come from aboard, with a 32% increase of foreign visitors using air transport to Vietnam from 2017 to 2016.
To this avail, on October 28, 2018, the national carrier Vietnam Airlines opened a new line, linking Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka, Japan to Da Nang International Airport (DAD), Vietnam. It also increased weekly flights to Japan from 70 to 80. With 11 routes in total, Japan is the flag carrier’s biggest market, and sees a steady rise of passengers travelling between the two countries year after year (up 11% in 2017).
Foreign low cost carriers also see a market in Vietnam: Malaysian AirAsia announced on November 2, 2018, it would open a new route between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia and Phu Quoc International Airport (PQC), Vietnam. This route is the fifth that the airline opened in the country after Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hanoi and Nha Trang.
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