Vietnam Airlines has announced it will be putting some of its aircraft up for lease. At the moment the airlines says it will be leasing either its Airbus A321s, its Airbus A350-900s and/or its Boeing 787-9/10s.
Earlier this week Vietnam Airlines announced its plans to lease part of its fleet for a six-month period beginning 20 April. According to a press release published by the airline on Tuesday, the lease terms will be either dry lease, damp lease or ACMI lease.
Although Vietnam Airlines hasn’t yet confirmed the finer details of its plan, it will be either be leasing its narrowbody Airbus A321s, or either its Airbus A350-900s or Boeing 787-9/10s from its widebody fleet.
Why is Vietnam Airlines planning to lease?
Simple Flying has reached out to Vietnam Airlines for clarification on the motivations behind its leasing plans. Unfortunately, the airline hasn’t been able to respond yet, but we will update this article once we receive more information.
However, given the current circumstances in Asia, it’s likely the move has been formulated to reduce losses caused by ongoing travel restrictions. The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, which has centered on China, has forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights over the past few weeks.
As a result of these travel restrictions, airlines are losing huge amounts of money and passengers across the region are being forced to cancel plans. The Singapore Airshow, which is currently in its third day, has seen considerably reduced attendance because of fears about the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.
Singapore currently has a total of 58 confirmed cases of the disease, making it one of the worst affected countries outside of China. Singapore’s tourism board estimates that passenger arrivals in the country are down by as much as 20,000 per day.
Where Vietnam’s close proximity to China is usually a positive for Vietnam Airlines, the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has had the opposite effect. Indeed, the airline is reported today by Reuters as losing $10.8m a week in revenue due to the effect of the virus. The cancellations are completely out of airlines’ control, so any way to earn additional revenue will come as welcome relief.
By leasing out a portion of its fleet, which would currently be grounded anyway, Vietnam Airlines may be hoping to recoup some money. However, considering the fact that the lease plans are not set to go into place until 20 April, the move may simply be a way to mitigate additional capacity in the airline’s fleet.
Vietnam Airlines’ Airbus A350s
Vietnam Airlines is one of the larger operators of the Airbus A350 in Asia, with a total of 14 of the type in its fleet. Back in October, the airline announced it would be rolling out WiFi on its Airbus A350s.
Having WiFi on an Airbus A350 might seem like a given, but Vietnam Airlines has reportedly had a tough time getting permission from authorities to roll out WiFi across its fleet. For now, only a portion of the airline’s Airbus A350 fleet will be equipped with the service, and Vietnam Airlines has warned that it will not be able to support streaming.