Vietnam’s newest airline Bamboo Airways just completed its first flight on Wednesday. Now we have learned that Vietnam is getting ANOTHER startup airline.
According to Bloomberg, Vietravel, a Vietnamese tour operator, plans to start an airline as well. As reported by the Saigon Times, Vietravel’s CEO Nguygen Quoc Ky said that Vietravel Airlines will serve the same market that is currently “already served by five domestic [air] carriers.” He also noted that the airline’s headquarters will be in the province of Thua Thien Hue. Furthermore, Vietravel Airlines will only offer chartered flights. The airline will use “available resources from current carriers for transport services.” He did not provide any additional information.
You might not have heard of Vietravel before, so let’s take a closer look at the company. Vietravel is one of the 16 leading tour operators in Asia. The company has been in business for 19 years and offers a variety of tours through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. It is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Aviation in Vietnam
Vietnam has one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. As a matter of fact, last year IATA ranked Vietnam’s aviation market number 7 in the world based on growth. The number of passengers flying on Vietnamese airlines is up 16% from 2016 and is expected to increase another 16% by the year 2020. In 2018, 50 million passengers traveled on flights operated by Vietnamese airlines.
Bamboo Airways’ inaugural route, the route between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, was the world’s sixth busiest route last year (based on passenger numbers).
There are a few reasons for the unprecedented growth of Vietnam’s aviation industry. As Nguyen Quoc Ky mentioned, Vietnam’s growing middle class and large population in general provide an excellent basis for continued growth. Additionally, the Vietnamese have more disposable income than they had previously. As a result, they have more money to spend on travel. Furthermore, Vietnam’s tourism industry is booming. In 2018, as many as 15.5 million foreign tourists visited the country.
It is not clear exactly which routes Vietravel will serve. We also do not know which aircraft the airline will use. However, we do know that Vietravel will have to compete with Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and, startup Bamboo Airways.
Vietnam Airlines is the flag carrier of Vietnam. The airline is a member of SkyTeam and offers flights to 23 destinations across Vietnam and 43 destinations worldwide.
VietJet Air is a low-cost carrier serving 23 domestic and 10 international destinations.
As Simply Flying reported yesterday, Bamboo Airways will serve 37 domestic routes initially but hopes to eventually serve a total of 100 destinations. Its fleet will consist of 24 A321neo aircraft and 20 Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
Additionally, AirAsia Vietnam is scheduled to start operations in August of this year. AirAsia Vietnam, a joint venture of AirAsia and a Vietnamese partner, is expected to offer flights on some underserved routes mostly on Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft.
Evidently, the Vietnamese aviation industry is adding a lot of capacity. However, will there be enough demand for all the airlines to operate successfully?
What do you think?