New airline envisages losing $15 million in first three years

By Dat Nguyen   October 27, 2019 | 05:44 pm PT
New airline envisages losing $15 million in first three years
An ATR-72 aircraft set to be used by KiteAir. Photo by Reuters/Pichi Chuang.
Hospitality group Thien Minh says its carrier KiteAir could lose VND350 billion ($15.04 million) in the first three years of operations.

It also said that the airline will have VND1 trillion ($42.98 million) in charter capital, and VND4.5 trillion ($193.39 million) in fixed capital.

The group makes this estimate in a recent aviation permit request sent to the central province of Quang Nam. The aviation permit was discussed at a recent meeting attended by provincial authorities, the Transport Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

The carrier, which will be headquartered in Quang Nam, plans to launch its first commercial flight in the first quarter of next year, using six short-haul ATR-72 aircraft with a capacity of 78 seats.

The fleet will expand to 30 by 2025, with 15 ATR-72 and 15 narrow-body Airbus A320 or A321, the group said.

The Thien Minh Group will use its own funds for 28 percent of the fixed capital, and the rest will be sourced through loans from local and foreign credit institutions.

Nguyen Minh Phuong, deputy head of the Planning and Investment Department under the Ministry of Transport, said that KiteAir has mentioned a loss but not said when it will become profitable, which it needs to do, to clarify the economic viability of the airline.

Vietnam’s aviation market now has six domestic carriers: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), Bamboo Airways, and newly-licensed Vietstar Airlines, a military-run company, the last two making their debut this year.

KiteAir, along with Vietravel Airlines – a unit of tourism firm Vietravel, and Vinpearl Air – a unit of conglomerate Vingroup, are vying to be the seventh.

Last year, Vietnam’s 21 state-run airports served 103.5 million passengers, up 11 percent year-on-year, and the figure is set to rise to 112 million this year, according to the Airports Corporation of Vietnam.

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