Private low-cost carrier Vietjet has been expanding its local market segment fast and is expected to overtake Vietnam Airlines in domestic market in a couple months, according to new analysis.
Sydney-based CAPA Center for Aviation which provides independent aviation market intelligence, analysis and data services forecasts that Vietjet will see 7 percent increase in domestic capacity in the first quarter to 259,000 seats a week in March, up 73 percent year-on-year.
Vietjet and Vietnam Airlines domestic weekly seat capacity: Sep-2011 to Mar-2016, according to statistics by CAPA Center for Aviation.
The increase will allow it to take over the national carrier Vietnam Airlines’ leading position in domestic market for the first time.
The latter holds 47 percent of the market at the end of 2015 when Vietjet holds 36.3 percent, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam. Their market shares sometimes got close to being even last year with each around 40 percent.
CAPA said Vietjet’s share is going to grow to 43 percent of the market in March while Vietnam Airlines’ shrink to 42 percent.
Vietjet’s share may well grow to 50 percent this year, making it the country’s biggest domestic carrier, it said.
Jetstar Pacific and VASCO held respective market shares of 14.9 and 1.8 percent in November 2015, according to official figures.
Vietjet’s domestic capacity at the end of 2015 has increased 82 percent from a year before to 242,000 seats a week and the capacity on overseas services increased 30 percent to 19,000 seats a week.
Its top ten domestic routes increased 29-200 percent in number of passengers between the last week of 2015 and the last week of 2014, according to CAPA statistics.
VietJet top 10 bases/stations ranked by weekly seat capacity: Jan 4, 2016 to Jan 4, 2016
Vietjet, which started operation in December 2011, has been pursuing domestic expansion to meet the rapid growth in demand.
The airline launched services connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with the Central Highlands’ town Pleiku, its 16th domestic destination, on October 1.
It has announced to open flights between Pleiku and the northern city of Hai Phong on January 15, between Pleiku and the central town of Vinh on January 16 and flights between Ho Chi Minh City and the south central town of Tuy Hoa on January 20.
Flight debuts usually come with big promotions that offer millions of cheap and free tickets.
The airline will also increase the frequency of high-demand routes during the upcoming Tet to more than 20 round trips per day for the Ho Chi Minh City - Hanoi route, 10 round trips per day for the Ho Chi Minh City - Da Nang route, four round trips per day each for the Ho Chi Minh City - Hue and Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh routes, six round trips per day for the Ho Chi Minh City - Hai Phong route and three for the Ho Chi Minh City - Nha Trang route.
Lunar New Year holiday, which peaks this February 8, is a high season for air travel in Vietnam as it is the time of family reunions and it is when most people have the longest break of the year.