AirAsia's Vietnam venture hopes to take off in August

AirAsia's Vietnam venture hopes to take off in August

Tail of AirAsia X plane as seen at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia in Tangerang, Indonesia, Sept 20, 2017. (Reuters file photo)
Tail of AirAsia X plane as seen at the Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia in Tangerang, Indonesia, Sept 20, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

HANOI: The Vietnam partner of AirAsia Group Bhd expects their new carrier to begin operations in August, joining the ranks of low-cost airlines in Southeast Asia as a growing middle class spurs many to travel by air.

The domestic airline will apply for its aviation license in February and expects to gain the necessary regulatory approvals within six months, said Tran Trong Kien, chief executive officer of Hanoi-based resort and seaplane operator Thien Minh Group, AirAsia’s partner.

Vietnam has been a missing piece of the puzzle for Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes’s AirAsia, Southeast Asia’s largest low-cost carrier group with affiliates in key markets including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. The new airline would become the latest entrant following Bamboo Airways this year in Vietnam, a market dominated by state-owned Vietnam Airlines JSC and private budget carrier VietJet Aviation Joint Stock Co.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed support for the yet-to-be-named venture during a Dec 6 meeting with Kien and Fernandes, according to the Thien Minh Group CEO. The airline plans to deploy five or six Airbus SE A320 and A321 aircraft on domestic routes between Hanoi, Da Nang and other cities as well as for regional flights, and the fleet could expand to as many as 30 within three years, Kien said in an interview on Dec. 7.

Under an agreement signed in March last year, AirAsia will hold a 30% stake in Hai Au Aviation with Gumin Co, headed by Kien, controlling about 70%, the Vietnamese businessman said. The airline targets to have a market share of 20% to 30% within a decade, he said.

Bamboo Airways, owned by FLC Group JSC, plans to begin flights on Dec. 29. Thien Minh Group owns Victoria Hotels & Resorts in Vietnam and Laos, as well as Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Co, which operates four tourist seaplanes out of Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. It also owns iVivu.com, Vietnam’s leading online travel agency.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT

Alec Baldwin at centre of on-set shooting tragedy

Hollywood star Alec Baldwin was the focus on Friday of investigations into a shocking and deadly on-set tragedy, after the actor fired a prop gun that killed a cinematographer and wounded the director of a Western he was shooting in New Mexico.

22 Oct 2021

Nine held after major drug busts in Chiang Rai

Police have arrested nine members of a major drug trafficking gang in two cases and seized a total of 2 million speed pills, 67 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine and 7kg of heroin in Chiang Rai

22 Oct 2021

K-pop stars BTS leaving Sony for Universal

The K-pop boy band BTS is ending its distribution deal with Sony Music’s Columbia Records and will instead partner with Universal Music Group.

22 Oct 2021