Vietnam’s real estate group FLC forays into aviation with Bamboo Airlines

By Minh Son   May 31, 2017 | 04:19 pm GMT+7
Vietnam’s real estate group FLC forays into aviation with Bamboo Airlines
Aircraft of different airlines at Tan Son Nhat airport, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Nguyen

Once licensed, the carrier will become the fifth in one of the fastest growing markets.

Vietnamese property developer FLC Group has unveiled plan to set up its own airline, suggesting it's ready to take on other players in an increasingly crowded market. 

Its shareholders have approved a charter capital of VND700 billion ($30.8) million for Hanoi-based Viet Bamboo Airlines, a FLC representative told VnExpress. The carrier will need to apply for licenses before it can  start offering air transport services.

That capital level means it can have a fleet of 30 aircraft for local routes, according to media reports.

Before FLC, military-run Vietstar Airlines had been seeking permission to fly passengers and cargo since 2015 but had several rough patches. 

First it was told to raise its registered capital from VND400 billion to the required level of VND700 million before it could get a license.

After the airline did so, aviation authorities last September said it would be qualified for a license.

But the government earlier this year told it to wait for the expansion of Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, which would be its hub. Work at the airport has started and is expected to complete next year.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, two budget carriers VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific as well as Vietnam Air Services Company have been competing in a market that served 52.2 million passengers last year, up 29 percent from 2015.

The domestic sector alone grew 30 percent with 28 million passengers, based on aviation authority data.

VietJet in particular has been hailed as a success story. The privately owned carrier has made its chairwoman a billionaire and is reportedly seeking an IPO overseas.

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