Vietnam to have second low cost carrier with Vietjet AirAsia

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Vietnam’s first private airline has sold a 30 percent stake to low cost carrier AirAsia in order to form a new budget joint venture set to open flights by May.

Bui Duc Hanh, chief representative of Air Asia Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre on Thursday that the purchase of the Vietjet Air stakes was complete, but he did not specify the cost.

The joint venture between Vietjet Air and AirAsia will establish Vietjet AirAsia, Vietnam’s second low cost carrier, Hanh said. The airline will fly both domestically and overseas he said.

Hanh said the Ministry of Transport approved the stake purchase on Tuesday and details about destinations and the number of flights per day were under consideration.

Vietjet AirAsia makes Vietnam the fourth country in which AirAsia operates, after Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

AirAsia is the fourth largest airline in Asia.

Vietjet Air, which accounted for early 7 percent of Vietnam air travel market last year, gained the permit to fly in December 2007, but fuel price increases and the global economic crisis caused a few delays.

The company aims to begin operations during the country’s busy Liberation Day (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1) holiday weekend. The holidays fall Friday and Saturday, which means students and office workers will have four days off through Monday.

Vietnam’s first low cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines opened in May 2008.

As for the country’s other private carriers, Indochina Airlines is facing losses, debts and has been suspended while Mekong Aviation plans to open flights this year without specific dates announced yet, the local newswire Vnexpress said Thursday.

Source: Tuoi Tre

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