Bamboo Airways fleet expansion plan runs into overreach concerns

By Doan Loan, Anh Tu   April 28, 2019 | 05:21 pm PT
Bamboo Airways fleet expansion plan runs into overreach concerns
Bamboo Airways proposed to increase its fleet from maximum 10 to over 30. Photo by Shutterstock/Phuong D. Nguyen
Bamboo Airways’ request to expand its fleet has hit a roadblock with Vietnam’s aviation authorities unsure of its management capabilities.

The private airline had in March proposed to increase its fleet from maximum 10 to over 30 in order to meet rising travel demand in the country.

But the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has said that permission for this proposal should be considered carefully, based on market demand, Bamboo Airways’ capability to operate that many aircraft, as also the CAAV’s own ability to manage them.

As Bamboo Airways has announced plans to expand its fleet, the CAAV has asked the airline to explain where it gets the budget for purchasing them, and its plans to employ enough personnel for the expansion.

The CAAV also said that with its current resources, it can only manage 256 aircraft belonging to Vietnamese carriers. If Bamboo Airways begins operating 40 aircraft this year, the CAAV will have to manage a total of 277 aircraft, exceeding its capability by 21 units.

The CAAV is waiting for Bamboo Airways’ explanation before reporting to the Ministry of Transport its final conclusion on the airline’s expansion proposal.

A representative of Bamboo Airways said that the airline has made careful and strategic preparations for its expansion plan, including meeting all requirements to increase the number of aircraft.

Bamboo Airways was established last July as Vietnam’s fifth airline with a charter capital of VND700 billion ($30.4 million), which was increased by VND600 billion ($25.8 million) last month to VND1.3 trillion.

It has ordered 50 narrow-body Airbus aircraft, and in February inked a deal with Boeing for 10 wide-body 787-9 Dreamliners worth almost $3 billion.

The airline has operated 1,000 flights by the end of February after beginning operations last December.

Bamboo Airways now flies on 17 local routes. It is set to be the first airline in Vietnam to operate direct flights to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. It plans to start flying to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan this month.

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