Vietravel, a large Vietnamese tourism operator, has received approval to launch their airline in December. Despite Vietnam’s severe travel restrictions, Vietravel Airlines will make their maiden flight on 18th December – well before the original date set for 2021.

At a Forbes forum, airline CEO Nguyen Quoc Ky said that COVID has forced his airline to rethink their strategy. Now, Vietravel will “wholly” focus on the domestic market – a strategy that Air New Zealand adopted in September.

“We will fly domestically first, targeting the 100 million population market. In fact, it is not a small market. Our July domestic travel revenue is already much higher than before the pandemic.”

Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO, Vietravel Airlines

Based in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien Hue, Vietravel Airlines expects to take delivery of their first three aircraft between by December 2021; then delivery of five more by the fifth year of operations. The airline will either purchase Airbus A321neo or Boeing 737 aircraft.

Nguyen Quoc Ky
Nguyen Quoc Ky

Despite already chartering flights, Vietravel will enter a fiercely competitive airline market which already has six key players: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar Pacific, Bamboo Airways, VASCO and the newly-created military-owned Vietstar Airlines.

Despite Vietravel’s three tourism branches handling 70% fewer passengers than 2019, Mr Ky says his airline will mainly carry people on Vietravel package tours; they will also aim to make inroads into the highly competitive domestic market. In their first year of operation, Vietravel Airlines is planning to, and aiming to, carry over 1 million passengers.

“I think the market situation will remain very difficult until the beginning of 2022. The international aviation market will likely only return by [Vietnamese] autumn next year.”

The airline is currently hiring A320/A321 captains, instructors and first officers.

Feature Image: Flickr/Oliver Holzbauer. Additional Source: VnExpress