Vietnam's air market is forecast to see a rise of 19 percent to 45 million passengers this year, riding on the back of strong economic growth and lower fuel costs, local media reported.
The domestic sector alone will have more than 26.2 million passengers, up 23.4 percent from 2015, the Ministry of Planning and Investment's news website Bao Dau Tu said on Sunday, citing local analysts.
A competition between state-run Vietnam Airlines and private low-cost carrier Vietjet Air in the domestic market will become more heated, considering that their market shares sometimes got close to being even last year with each around 40 percent, they were quoted as saying.
In fact, Vietnam Airlines expected to see its market share shrink to 40.8 percent this year. That compares to the latest estimate of 47.1 percent by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam at the end of 2015.
However, many analysts believed that it will be impossible for Vietjet Air, which was last reported to own 36.3 percent of the share, to take over the national carrier's leading position over the next five years, the website reported.
Besides a much bigger fleet and a complete system of ground services, Vietnam Airlines is looking to sell part of its stake to private investors this year, a move which is expected to give it more money and become more competitive.
The carrier, which sold a 3.48 percent stake for nearly VND1.1 trillion (US$48.7 million) in its IPO at the end of 2014, has reportedly been in talks with Japan's All Nippon Airways.
Its subsidiaries, low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific Airlines and VASCO, held respective market shares of 14.9 and 1.8 percent in November last year, according to official figures.