Vietnam Airline's 2010 profit to double on passengers

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Vietnam Airlines Corp.'s 2010 pretax profit will double to more than VND350 billion (US$18 million), from a year earlier, buoyed by an increase in passenger numbers, according to an e-mailed statement from the state-owned carrier Thursday.

Total revenue may rise 47 percent to VND36.3 trillion as the number of passengers climbed 34 percent to more than 12.3 million, the company said.

"The air transport market has started recovering since the middle of 2010, with positive growth, amid the global post- economic-crisis period," Chief Executive Officer Pham Ngoc Minh said in the statement. The seat-occupancy rate was 77.1 percent this year, 3.6 percentage points higher than 2009, according to Minh.

The national carrier said it aims to boost revenue to VND45.5 trillion and passenger numbers to 14 million in 2011, as economic growth spurs demand for air travel. Economic expansion may reach 6.7 percent this year and accelerate by as much as 7.5 percent next year, the Vietnamese government said in a report released Dec. 7.

The Hanoi-based airline, which operates 69 aircraft, plans to double its fleet to more than 100 planes by 2015 and triple the number to 150 by 2020, according to the company's website.

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