Indian carrier GoAir plans direct flights to Hanoi

By Nguyen Quy   July 22, 2019 | 06:47 pm PT
Indian carrier GoAir plans direct flights to Hanoi
India’s low-cost air carrier GoAir plans to open a direct flight to Hanoi by the year-end. Photo by Reuters.
Low-cost carrier GoAir has announced plans to launch direct India-Hanoi flights by the year-end as part of its expansion strategy in Southeast Asia.

This is the second Indian carrier that has revealed plans to operate direct flights to the Vietnamese capital this year. Earlier, budget carrier Indigo said it plans to launch daily direct flights between India's Kolkata City and Hanoi from October 3 onwards.

"As part of its expansion strategy in Southeast Asia and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, GoAir is considering bringing Indian tourists to Hanoi via the first direct link between the two countries," Arjun Dasgupta, GoAir vice president, said at a meeting in New Delhi last Sunday. No further details were revealed about the new routes.

Currently, GoAir operates Airbus A320 Neo aircraft, which have an endurance of around six-hours of flying time. In addition to its expansion plans, the airline has enhanced its fleet size and recently took the delivery of its 51st plane. Going forward, it plans to add at least one aircraft every month.

William Boulter, chief commercial officer of Indigo, the largest airline in India, last month stated that Vietnam is one of the world’s emerging tourist destinations. "As such, the carrier is considering taking more Indian tourists to the Southeast Asian country in the near future." 

Vietnam’s low-cost carrier Vietjet last week got a green light from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam to launch a direct flight from Hanoi to New Delhi.

The number of Indian tourists to Vietnam remains low compared to other Asian countries like China and South Korea, with only 130,000 arrivals in 2018. But the year-on-year growth was a significant 30 percent.

China and South Korea are Vietnam's top feeder markets with 4.9 million and 3.4 million visitors last year respectively.

India is one of Vietnam's top 10 trading partners. Bilateral trade reached $10.69 billion last year, a two-fold increase against 2016, according to Vietnam's Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Vietnam first allowed foreign tourists to apply for a visa online in February 2017, starting with 40 countries including China, South Korea and the U.S. In December that year six countries were added to the list, including Australia and India.

According to Mastercard, the country has the second fastest growing outbound market in the Asia Pacific region after Myanmar, with a projected annual growth of 9.5 percent between 2016 and 2021. About 7.5 million Vietnamese are expected to travel outside the country in 2021.

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