Bamboo Airways will receive their first widebody aircraft soon. Although it is not an A380, the A330 still represents an upgrade to the fleet. With this new aircraft, Bamboo Airways could launch their first long-haul flights.
CH-Aviation reports that the first A330-200 for Bamboo Airways is an 11-year old aircraft. In late June, the aircraft was painted in Bamboo Airways’ livery. Here’s a video from MT Aviation showing the first A330-200 for Bamboo Airways taking off.
Bamboo Airways has not yet indicated the seating configuration of the aircraft. Furthermore, the carrier also hasn’t released information about their onboard product.
Bamboo Airways’ fleet
Bamboo Airways currently operates A320 family aircraft. This includes the A319, A320, and A321neo variants. Thus, the A330-200 will be the largest aircraft in Bamboo Airways’ fleet.
When it comes to their long-haul expansion, Bamboo Airways has a firm order for Boeing 787-9 aircraft. These are only scheduled to arrive in the second half of 2020. It seems that Bamboo Airways is itching to expand, so they’ve acquired this A330-200. It is unclear if additional A330-200s will enter Bamboo Airways’ fleet.
Bamboo Airways has not indicated where the A330-200 will fly. It is possible that the A330-200 will first conduct test flights on high-demand regional routes before being placed on longer services.
Bamboo Airways has made it no secret that they want to fly to the United States. It seems that they plan on using a second-hand A380 for this task! Depending on how long the paperwork takes, Bamboo Airways is itching to launch those flights in the early part of 2020– before the 787-9 arrives.
Is this the right move?
Bamboo Airways is a small, but growing, carrier. Taking on an A330-200 could help them launch new long-haul routes, however, there should be a degree of caution here. Vietnam is a growing tourist destination, but Bamboo Airways doesn’t have the global reach (or a global slate of partners) to facilitate connections and keep their planes full.
It is not unreasonable to expect additional moves by Bamboo Airways courting partners or reassessing delivery schedules to better optimize for connections. After all, an empty plane brings no money!
At the end of the day, expansion has associated costs. Vietnam Airlines, a competitor, is also looking at establishing flights to the United States. They expect to face heavy losses at first. Whether Bamboo Airways believes they will face losses (and can tolerate it) is a different matter.
Will you fly on Bamboo Airways’ A330-200? Let us know in the comments!