Bamboo Airways, Vietnam’s newest airline, has submitted a proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) to allow the airline to plan for flight routes from Hanoi and HCMC to South Korea and Taiwan in 2019. Dang Tat Thang, General Director of Bamboo Airways, said the airline planned to fly 37 routes that will connect Vietnam’s largest cities and tourism destinations to foreign countries this year.
Commenting on the airlines proposal to the CAAV, Thang said, “Our international flight routes to Japan, South Korea and Singapore and to European countries would use wide-body aircrafts.” He also said that, “Bamboo Airways has finished negotiations on international flight routes with partners in Japan and South Korea to prepare for long routes in 2019.”
South Korea will be a key market for Bamboo as well as other Vietnamese airlines. Currently, Vietnam’s aviation market has 11 airlines exploiting the two countries’ flight routes including nine from South Korea and two from Vietnam.
In addition to current routes that connect Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang to Seoul and Busan, Vietnamese airlines are asking both the South Korean and Vietnamese aviation authorities permission to open a number of new routes this year. These include flights from Nha Trang and Phu Quoc in Vietnam to Jeju, Muan, Cheongju and Yangyang in South Korea.
Last year, the number of passenger travelling by air between the two countries reached 7.7 million with the seat occupation rate of 87.6%. Korean airlines accounted for 68% of passenger volume and Vietnamese airlines accounted for 32%, and Vietnamese airlines are eager to add new routes that will allow them to take a larger slice of the market.
Bamboo Airways is part of the Viet Bamboo Airlines Company and is based in the city of Quy Nhon in Binh Dinh Province. The company is owned by property developer FLC Group and was established in 2017. At the time it registered, the company had charter capital of $31.4 million USD (700 billion VND) and recently increased its capital to $55.6 million USD (1.3 trillion VND).
In related news, Bamboo Airways is set to sign a deal with Boeing to buy 10 aircraft. The signing will take place on the sidelines of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi this week. In July 2018 the airline signed a provisional deal to buy 20 Boeing 787-9 wide-body jets worth $5.6 billion at list prices and the 10 new orders that will be signed are in addition to these.