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Aug 24, 2022 / 14:53

Int’t airlines eye Vietnam aviation market

The incoming of foreign airlines to Vietnam shows the market’s potential, and no doubt would enhance the competitiveness among domestic airlines.

The speedy recovery of Vietnam’s aviation market in the post-pandemic period has attracted attention from international airlines.

 Vietnam's domestic aviation market is among the fastest recovering in the world. File photo

The latest name to join the local market is Air Premia from South Korea. Headquartered in Seoul, Air Premia calls itself a hybrid service carrier that could provide high-quality service at a low price, which could make the airline a potential competitor in the high-end market segment.

Air Premia is scheduled to launch the first commercial flight in October from Seoul to Ho Chi Minh City, with a  frequency of four flights per week. The airline is also planning for flights from Seoul to Hanoi in 2022 or early 2023.

The South Korean airline’s representative noted Vietnam remains one of its key markets in the coming time and stressed the commitment to do business in the long term.

Meanwhile, Myanmar Airways International (MAI) has also announced its intention to launch commercial flights into Vietnam, starting with the Yangon – Hanoi route on September 16 with two flights per week on Monday and Friday, and flying between Yangon  and Ho Chi Minh City from September 22  once per week.

According to experts, the incoming of foreign airlines to Vietnam shows the market’s potential, and no doubt would enhance the competitiveness among domestic airlines.

During the first six months of 2022, Vietnam’s aviation industry catered to 40.7 million passengers, up 56.8% year-on-year, including 1.8 million foreign passengers.

In this context, local airlines have provided services for 20.1 million passengers, representing an increase of 56.1% year-on-year, of which 667,000 were foreigners and 19.5 million domestic passengers.

A report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) suggested Vietnam’s domestic aviation market remains the among the 25 fastest recovering  countries.

In the latest analysis by Airbus and the IATA using statistics about the flight numbers from Flightdatar24 and Airbus, the Southeast Asian country’s aviation market is rebounding with a growth rate of 123% compared to  pre-Covid-19 period.

On the IATA list, Vietnam is followed by Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and Australia. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia ranked eighth, Malaysia ninth, the Philippines 13th, and Thailand 24th.

Fierce competition

While the domestic market has been on track for recovery, many have expressed concern over the slow resumption of international flights, especially in Vietnam’s key markets.

South Korea, the top market for Vietnamese airlines, has not fully reopened to international travel and continues to adopt strict immigration procedures.

A similar situation is seen in China, another key market for Vietnam. Given its current zero-Covid-19 policy, flights between the two countries are restricted to two per week.

“The slow recovery  of international flights has somewhat impacted the prospects of the domestic aviation industry,” Economist Ngo Tri Long told The Hanoi Times.

“In this context, local airlines would face growing pressure due to the entry of foreign airlines into the Vietnamese market. However, those who thrive on competition would become stronger with high resilience,” he added.

According to Long, the only way for local airlines would be to enhance their corporate governance, and improve efficiency in operation to compete “fair and square” with their foreign peers.

“Local airlines, no doubt, are still in a favorable position   as they are operating on the home soil,” he continued.

“For the coming time, Vietnam’s aviation authorities should further negotiate with new markets to aid the recovery of local airlines. This is particularly significant at a time when traditional markets are still struggling to fully reopen to international travel,” said Bui Doan Ne, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Aviation Business Association (VABA).