New carrier KiteAir plans June takeoff

By Dat Nguyen, Anh TuDecember 9, 2019 | 12:09 am PT
New carrier KiteAir plans June takeoff
An ATR-72 aircraft prepares to land at Lisbon's airport, Portugal. Photo by Reuters/Rafael Marchante.
KiteAir, an airline established by hospitality group Thien Minh, hopes to launch its first flight next June after getting the Prime Minister’s nod.

The delay of three months over the original schedule was required as Thien Minh Group awaited investment approval from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, its Chairman Tran Trong Kien told VnExpress Monday.

The Ministry of Transport had in September voiced support for the establishment of KiteAir, but required that it be more specific in its plans to make profits, as the airline had envisaged a loss of VND350 billion ($15 million) in the first three years of its operations.

KiteAir is set to be headquartered in the central province of Quang Nam with a charter capital of VND1 trillion ($43 million), entirely invested in by Thien Minh Group.

It plans to operate six short-haul ATR-72 aircraft with a capacity of 78 seats in the first year of operation, and expand the fleet to 30 jets by the fifth year, including 15 narrow-body Airbus A320/321 aircraft.

The transport ministry has also supported the establishment of two other airlines, Vinpearl Air, a unit of private conglomerate Vingroup, and Vietravel Airlines, promoted by leading travel agency Vietravel.

All three airlines have to get an approval from the PM, and later the air operator certificate (AOC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam before they can launch operations.

Vietnam now has six licensed airlines: Vietnam Airlines, Vietnam Air Services Company (VASCO), Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, and military-run Vietstar Airlines, the last two making their debut this year.

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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