HANOI – Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways, after repeated delays, will start commercial flights on Wednesday, Jan 16, the company said in a statement.
The airline, a unit of the property and leisure firm FLC Group will start selling tickets from Saturday, it said in a statement on Saturday.
The carrier set minimum ticket prices at 149,000 dong (USD$6.42) each. The carrier will initially operate 37 domestic routes, the company said in a separate statement. Bamboo Airways will also start this year international flights to Asian countries, starting with Japan, Korea and Singapore, it said.
Hotel and leisure company FLC Group JSC, which owns Bamboo Airways, will be competing in one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets against state-owned Vietnam Airlines JSC and budget carrier VietJet Aviation JSC.
The International Air Transport Association forecasts Vietnam will be among the world’s top five fastest-growing air travel markets in the next 20 years. The route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is already the world’s sixth-busiest in terms of passenger numbers last year, according to IATA.
Bamboo Airways will initially use 20 leased narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, the carrier has said. FLC agreed to buy 24 Airbus SE A321neo planes worth USD$3.2 billion at list price for Bamboo Airways.
In June, it signed a commitment for 20 Boeing Co twin-aisle 787-9 Dreamliners with a list price of US$5.6 billion.
Vietnam, one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, has recorded double-digit expansion in domestic and inbound passenger numbers. The government aims to boost tourism with visa exemptions and by promoting investment in the industry.
Vietnam’s airports in 2018 handled 106 million passengers, a 12.9 per cent increase over the previous year, according to a statement on the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam’s website. Vietnamese carriers flew more than 50 million passengers, a 14 per cent jump from 2017.
Bamboo, owned by hotel and leisure firm FLC Group, will operate 37 routes connecting major cities and tourist destinations in Vietnam to “reduce pressure on aviation infrastructure”, the airline said in a statement.
The granting of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam marks the end of a series of stalled launches for Bamboo.
Bamboo Chairman, Trinh Van Quyet, also Head of FLC, told Reuters in November that he aimed to launch the first domestic flight in December after a delay from October. But that date was pushed back due to a further delay in the issuing an AOC.
Source : REUTERS