Vietnam Airlines Waves Goodbye To Final Airbus A330

Vietnam Airlines has retired its last Airbus A330, as the airline moves forward with a new modern fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s.

Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines A330-200. Photo: Masakatsu Ukon via Flickr

What are the details?

Vietnam Airlines has said goodbye (or correctly Tạm biệt) to their last A330-200, closing a chapter for the airline, as reported by Flight Global. The A330-200 was the workhorse of the Vietnam Airlines fleet, and at its peak, the airline operated 12 A330 aircraft.  

The type served the airline for 13 years and transported close to 20 million passengers across 96,000 flights. The aircraft was configured with two classes, carrying 24 passengers in business and 256 in economy.

Like most A330s, business was in a 2-2-2 configuration with recliner seats, not lie-flat, with economy in a 2-4-2 configuration (which is passenger preferred, as it allows couples to have some privacy and families to sit all together).

Two Vietnam Airlines A330-200 aircraft taxi on a runway. Photo: Vietnam Airlines via Flickr

Vietnam Airlines deployed the aircraft internationally, flying from Vietnam to Australia and Europe. It was also used domestically, becoming the preferred way to travel (beating buses or trains) along the coast of the South East Asian country, between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The A330-200 has been replaced by the airlines fleet of Airbus A350s (they have 14) and its Dreamliners (11 787-9s and 2 787-10s). These new aircraft will be useful to launch new destinations as the airline has been cleared to start flying direct routes into US airspace.

Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines Boeing 787-10 takes off. Photo: Boeing

Additionally, these new aircraft come with new premium cabins. The new A350 has all flat-bed seats in business class (a must for any modern airline) with direct aisle access (no more 2-2-2 configuration). Thanks to the bigger size of the A350, the airline can actually fit in 29 premium seats, as opposed to the 24 found on the A330. Plus they squeezed in a lucrative premium economy section for those wanting a bit more space but without upgrading completely.

You can read a review of their new business class here.

Vietnam Airlines Waves Goodbye To Final Airbus A330
Vietnam Airlines Airbus A350. Photo: Airbus

What is the airline’s renewal focus now?

With the last of these aging widebodies out of the picture (the Boeing 777 fleet was retired sometime before), the airline is now focusing on their short-haul fleet.

The airline currently has 53 A321-200s, with 12 A321neos (and another 7 on order) as well as five A320neos. Likely the airline will slowly start to swap out these older A321ceo aircraft as more A321neos are delivered (26 of the older A321s are expected to run their leases out by 2021). It has also been rumored that the airline plans to spend $3.7 billion on new narrow-body aircraft in the next five years.

“By definition, it’s a narrowbody [and] whether it’s a Boeing or an Airbus, it is open for consideration,” the CEO of Vietnam Airlines Duong Tri Thanh said in an interview to Flight Global back in July. “When the fleet is below 50-70 there is a need to have a common type.”

They are also examining the Airbus A321XLR. Vietnam Airlines has been reached out to for comment.

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