Air Mekong plans October launch

TN News

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Air Mekong, Vietnam's third private airline, on Sunday received four aircraft from US-based SkyWest Leasing. The local carrier plans to launch its service in October.

The 90-seat Bombardier aircraft will be leased for three years and can be accommodated by most airports in Vietnam.

Air Mekong is seeking approval from the authorities to start flights on October 10 this year linking Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi with popular tourist destinations in Vietnam, including Da Nang, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Phu Quoc and Con Dao.

Truong Thanh Vu, a senior manager at Air Mekong, said the four airplanes will allow the carrier to operate 28-30 flights every day. He said 40 American pilots have been recruited and 50 flight attendants are being trained.

Vu said a partner wants to buy a 30 percent stake in Air Mekong, but the plan is still pending government permission and thus further details cannot be disclosed now.

The Wall Street Journal reported on August 4 that SkyWest plans to invest US$7 million for a 30 percent stake in Air Mekong.

VietJet Air, the first private airline to be licensed in Vietnam, sold a 30 percent stake to Malaysia's low cost carrier AirAsia. It was expected to launch its first flight this month, but it has delayed it until the end of this year.

Indochina Airlines, the first private airline to operate in Vietnam, suspended its services earlier this year due to debt problems.

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