Vietnam Airlines Will Auction Off 11 Airbus A321s

Vietnamese flag carrier Vietnam Airlines says it is preparing to auction off 11 Airbus A321 CEO aircraft that have been in service with the airline for more than 12 years. In a move aimed at countering a loss of revenue brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the state-owned carrier plans to sell the planes later this year to increase its cash flow.

Vietnam Airlines A321
Vietnam Airlines is getting rid of some of its older Airbus A321s. Photo: Getty Images

Under the pretext of modernizing its fleet, this is not the first time that Vietnam Airlines decided to sell aircraft to replenish its coffers. In 2019 it put five Airbus A321-200CEO aircraft up for sale. A year later, it repeated the move, placing a further nine Airbus A321CEO planes up for sale.

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Vietnam Airlines had a disastrous Q1

Under the pressure of being delisted from the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the Hanoi-headquartered airline posted its largest-ever quarterly loss in the first three months of 2021. The SkyTeam member airline lost VND4.97 trillion ($216 million) in Q1 2021, pushing its accumulated debt to VND14.22 trillion ($620 million), which is slightly over its charter capital.

Jetstar Pacific Vietnam Airlines getty
Vietnam Airlines sold A321s in 2019 and 2020. Photo: Getty Images

According to ch-aviation, Vietnam Airlines currently has 49 Airbus A321-200s, of which 27 are active while 22 are being stored. The rest of Vietnam Airlines’ fleet is comprised of the following aircraft:

  • 2 x Airbus A320neos
  • 20 x Airbus A321neos
  • 14 x Airbus A350-900s
  • 7 X ATR 72-500s
  • 4 x Boeing 787-10s
  • 11 x Boeing 787-9s

Vietnam Airlines trials the IATA Health Pass

In other Vietnam Airlines-related news, the airline has signed an agreement with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to trial its digital international vaccine passport program.

The IATA Travel Pass app will allow passengers to store their COVID-19 vaccination certificates or verified COVID-19 PCR results on their smartphones. IATA says that the Travel Pass app is more secure and efficient than current paper vaccine certificates and negative PCR test results.

The benefits of using the app are:

  • It allows governments to verify the authenticity of vaccination and test results by directly linking them to the identity of the person presenting the information.
  • It allows airlines to verify whether or not a passenger meets the necessary COVID-19 requirements before allowing them to board a flight.
  • It allows testing laboratories or vaccination bodies to issue digital certificates that governments and airlines recognize as being proof of being vaccinated or testing negative for COVID-19.
  • It allows international travelers to prove that they have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 by allowing them to securely covey the information to the airline that they are flying on, and the border authorities at their destination.

When speaking about the initiative with Vietnamese online newspaper, VnExpress CEO of Vietnam Airlines Le Hong Ha said:

“The most important goal of the initiative is to revive people’s faith in air transport and ensure safe and smooth travel.”

IATA Travel Pass
The IATA Travel Pass will help tourism in Vietnam recover. Photo: IATA

So far, more than 30 airlines have signed up to use the IATA Travel Pass with Singapore, Panama, and Estonia, also confirming that they will accept the app as proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test.

Selling the planes makes sense

Providing they can get a good price for the older planes they plan to auction off, it is probably a good move, and as we can see from the airline’s fleet, 22 Airbus A321 CEOs are in storage. As for the IATA Travel Pass, it’s a no-brainer and will allow Vietnam to get its all-important tourism sector back up and running.

What do you think about Vietnam Airlines selling some of its older planes to raise cash? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments.