Decreased commercial plane numbers force airlines to reduce flight frequency

By Doan Loan   March 26, 2024 | 05:20 pm PT
Decreased commercial plane numbers force airlines to reduce flight frequency
A plane at Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Restructuring and recalls have left Vietnamese airlines with access to around 40 fewer planes than they had at this time last year, struggling to meet travel demand.

A representative of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said on Tuesday that the number of commercially active planes utilized by the country's six airlines was only 170 by the last week of March, a drop of around 40 planes compared to the same period in 2023.

Major restructuring initiatives currently being carried out, resulting in reductions in company scale -- including in decreased numbers of available pilots, crew and other staff – been identified as a main driver in the decreasing numbers of aircraft.

Bamboo Airways previously had 28 planes, and now the carrier is only utilizing 9 aircraft as it follows through on its ongoing plan to return all of its Embraer E190 aircraft. Pacific Airlines have also returned all six of Airbus 320 planes as part of its flight crew restructuring plan.

Starting from this year, U.S. aerospace manufacturer Pratt&Whitney had to recall its engines due to manufacturer errors. Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air had around 40 planes using the recalled engine, so those aircraft were suspended for the 2024-2025 period for maintenance.

The drop in the number of commercial planes has caused several domestic air routes to launch fewer and less frequent flights.

Bamboo Airways has halted several international and domestic air routes that were employing the Embraer E190. Such routes include important flights from the capital of Hanoi in the north to Hue and Dong Hoi in the central region, as well as Con Dao and Ca Mau in the south. Major flights from HCMC to Dong Hoi and Con Dao have also been canceled.

Fewer planes now means it's tougher for domestic airlines to serve travelers, especially as the Reunification Day holiday (April 30) and summer holidays approach, when travel demand is expected to rise by 5-7% compared to the same period last year. Ticket prices will also increase as a result.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam has requested airlines to be proactive in planning for an addition of planes during peak travel periods, among other measures, to meet the expected increase in travel demand.

Late last week, the Ministry of Transport requested the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to instruct airlines to add more planes to their arsenals in preparation of heightened holiday and summer travel demands.

go to top