Leading tour company Vietravel has received the license for its airline and will operate its first flight in December.
If things go to plan Vietravel Airlines would start flying on December 18 instead of 2021 as originally planned, Nguyen Quoc Ky, chairman, and founder of the company said at an aviation business forum organized by Forbes Vietnam on Thursday.
The decision came as the Covid-19 pandemic forced the company to change its strategy and "wholly" focus on the domestic market, he said.
Vietravel expects to get delivery of three aircraft in the first year, and five more by the fifth year. It will mainly carry people booking its tours but also some commercial passengers, Ky said.
Owned by Vietravel - one of the biggest tourism groups of the countries - Vietravel Airlines already has a strong back-up as well as a large source of passengers.
Even though launching a new airline seems stupid these days, Vietravel has good reasons to do that. One of the reasons is that the Vietnamese domestic market is (almost) fully recovered when all carriers' capacity is now 80%~90% as comparisons to the pre-Covid days.
As mentioned, Vietravel expects at least three aircraft for its first year. Base on many sources, it is talking for two A321ceo from Avolon, one B737-800 from ATTECH, and seems like the carrier has secured its first airframes - a former Arkia A321neoLR from the lessor MG Aviation reg. 4X-AGN. The airframe is being stored at Tucson and we may see it sporting Vietravel's new livery in the next few weeks.
Besides those mentioned dry-leased airframes, Vietravel is also confirmed talking with other local carriers such as Vietnam Airlines and VietJet Air to wet-lease some more birds. Both VN and VJ replied that they are seriously considering the deals.
With those leased airframes. the carrier expects to carry up to 1 million pax in its first year of operation.
How do you think about this newbie? A risky and wise move, or a suicidal move?