Vietnam budget airline offering $10 flights to Bangkok

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Vietnam private low-cost carrier VietJetAir has announced US$10 fares on flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok and vice versa, its first international route, through the end of this year.

The airline will begin offering the service February 10, the first day of the Lunar New Year, Vietnam's biggest holiday. One daily 90 minute flight will depart from Ho Chi Minh City at around 11 a.m. and return from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 1:30 p.m.

It has appointed Quality Express Tour, one of Thailand's leading travel agencies established in 1999, as its sales agent in Thailand.

Earlier the airline said tickets will cost between VND700,000 and VND1,980,000 ($33-95) apiece.

"For residents of Thailand, Vietnam's largest hub [HCMC] is a gateway to the rest of the country," Desmond Lin, VietJetAir's Business Development Director, said in a press release.

Currently VietJetAir offers flights for roughly $19 from HCMC Phu Quoc Island off Vietnam southern coast; central Vietnam's developed beach city of Nha Trang; the country's former imperial capital of Hue; two world heritage sites the ancient town Hoi An and the Champa Kingdom sanctuary of My Son; and the central region's largest city Da Nang, which features beaches, some of Asia's finest golf courses and top class resorts.    

VietJetAir flights to Hai Phong, which is located near the famous UNESCO heritage Ha Long Bay, cost $33.74 apiece.

The carrier entered the aviation market in December 2011 and is currently flying to and from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Lat, Da Nang, Phu Quoc, Hue, Nha Trang, Vinh and Hai Phong.

After Bangkok, it plans to launch other services connecting Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to other southeast and northeast Asian destinations later this year, when it doubles its current fleet of three Airbus aircraft. It plans to expand that to 15 by 2015.

Since its opening, VietJetAir has tried various ticket promotions including selling tickets for just VND10,000 ($0.48) or VND99,000 ($4.75), not including taxes and fees.

But one controversial promotion involving an in-flight bikini show on the airline's inaugural flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the central coast town of Nha Trang on August 3 resulted in the airline being fined VND20 million ($951).

The airline service has also been hindered by technical errors that have caused several flight delays.

On September 13 angry customers forced VietJetAir to buy nearly 100 tickets from its competitor, Jetstar Pacific, after a flight was delayed due to maintenance problems.

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