Ministry greenlights Bamboo Airways’ fleet expansion

By Doan Loan   June 22, 2019 | 04:58 pm PT
Ministry greenlights Bamboo Airways’ fleet expansion
Bamboo Airways's fleet expansion plan has been approved. Photo by Shutterstock/Phuong D. Nguyen.
The Transport Ministry has approved in principle a proposal by private airline Bamboo Airways to expand its fleet to 30 aircraft by 2023.

Bamboo Airways, Vietnam’s fifth carrier, now operates 10 aircraft. The ministry said it will need to invest in human resources to operate a bigger fleet, at first by hiring foreign personnel.

Bamboo Airways will also need to work with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) to ensure the expansion plan is in compliance with regulations. Once this happens, the transport ministry will issue an official approval.

The approval in principle came after Bamboo Airways made a request in March to expand its fleet to meet rising travel demand in the country.

However, the CAAV had expressed concerns that the airline was overreaching. It had said that approval for the proposal should be considered carefully, and be based on an assessment of market demand, Bamboo Airways’ capability to operate that many aircraft, as also the CAAV’s own ability to manage them.

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

How the CAAV would manage the latest approved expansion was not mentioned.

Bamboo Airways began its first flights earlier this year.

It has transported 800,000 passengers, with an occupancy rate of 80 percent each flight.

Vietnam is seeing a boom in the aviation industry. It targets to have the aviation market grow by 16 percent each year between 2015-2020, and 8 percent a year in 2020-2030.

This means that the country will have 117 million air passengers in 2023, 85 percent of which will be catered for by Vietnamese carriers, which would need 340 aircraft by then.

Last year, local airlines served almost 50 million passengers, up 10.1 percent from 2017.

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