Vietnam Airlines to become major owner of Jetstar Pacific

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The government's stake in budget airline Jetstar Pacific, held via the State Capital Investment Corp., will be transferred to national carrier Vietnam Airlines, local media reported Wednesday, citing a directive.

Jetstar Pacific, which is partly owned by Australia's Qantas, will continue to operate as a low-cost carrier after the transfer, according to news website VnExpress.

"This is not a merger. Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Airlines will be two different entities, operating independently and competing against each other," Le Song Lai, general director of Jetstar Pacific, was quoted by VnExpress as saying.

He also said the change in ownership will allow Jetstar Pacific to cut costs and provide better training for pilots.

The transfer is expected to be completed in mid-February.

The Vietnamese government's investment arm, the State Capital Investment Corp., is currently the majority owner of Jetstar Pacific. The carrier is also 27 percent owned by the Qantas Group, which includes budget airline Jetstar Group.

Jetstar Group said in December that the Qantas Group's 27 percent share would be unaffected even after a deal with Vietnam Airlines.

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