National carrier Vietnam Airlines has prepared a US$8.38 billion modernization and fleet expansion plan that includes the purchase of Airbus A380s, the world's largest commercial aircraft.
Under the new plan, the carrier will expand its total fleet to 170 aircraft by 2020. The airline currently operates some 300 flights a day with around 70 aircraft.
Local media reports said Wednesday that even though the Ministry of Transport supports the plan to modernize the fleet, it has ordered the carrier to study the market and assess local infrastructure before buying the Airbus A380.
The ministry also asked Vietnam Airlines to submit a detailed plan to recoup the large investments and generate profit.
News website VnEconony quoted Le Hoang Dung, a spokesperson for the carrier, as saying that the plan and timeframe to buy the Airbus A380s cannot be disclosed now.
Vietnam Airlines had signed the contracts with France-based Airbus in 2007 and 2009 to purchase 26 Airbus A321-231s for delivery during the 2011-2014 period. A consortium of foreign banks, including Citi, DBS and HSBC, agreed in May to provide loans totaling $457 million for the purchase of eight planes.