Vietnam’s sixth carrier to take off in mid-January

By Anh Tu   December 27, 2020 | 07:32 pm PT
Vietnam’s sixth carrier to take off in mid-January
Vietravel Airlines' Airbus A321CEO plane lands at Phu Bai Airport in Thua Thien-Hue Province, December 5 2020. Photo courtesy of Vietravel Airlines.
Vietravel Airlines, Vietnam’s sixth carrier, has received permission to fly aircraft for commercial purposes, and plans to begin operations in mid-January.

It received the aircraft operator certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) last week, the last permit it needed to fly.

Vietravel would start selling tickets in January, Vu Duc Bien, its general director, said. It targets breaking even in its second year of operations, he said.

Starting amid the turbulence created by the pandemic has helped the carrier acquire good aircraft and pilots and engineers at competitive rates besides benefiting from low fuel costs and a stimulus package from the government, he added.

It recently took delivery of its first 220-seat Airbus A321CEO plane and is due to get two more soon to meet the increased travel demand during the Lunar New Year (Tet) in Februrary, 2021.

Based at Phu Bai International Airport near Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital, it will start with services to Hanoi and HCMC before expanding to major tourist destinations like Nha Trang, Da Nang and Da Lat.

It has hired some 200 pilots and flight attendants, and is looking to expand its fleet to 30 to prepare for international operations.

It plans to fly to Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, the Middle East and Northeast Asia, markets that Vietravel services.

The airline enters a fiercely competitive aviation market which already has five players, Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific, Vietnam Air Services Company, and Bamboo Airways, at a time when the industry has gone through one of its most challenging years ever due to Covid-19 restrictions, which have caused airlines huge losses.

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