Vietnam private budget carrier opens Ho Chi Minh City-Hue route

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Vietnam private budget airline VietJetAir on Thursday opened its seventh domestic route - from Ho Chi Minh City to the central city of Hue.

There is one daily return flight on a 180-seat Airbus aircraft that departs in Ho Chi Minh City at 7:40 a.m. and returns from Hue at 9:40 a.m.

Each flight takes one hour 20 minutes and a one-way ticket costs between VND480,000 and VND900,000 (US$23-43) depending on the booking time.

The carrier marked the opening of the new route by giving 300 insurance books to poor people in Thua Thien-Hue Province, of which Hue town is the capital.

Pritam Singh, deputy general director of VietJetAir, said in a press release that Hue, a UNESCO world heritage, is a notable tourism spot.

The new air route has the potential of bringing more investment to nearby provinces such as Quang Tri and Quang Binh, he said.

VietJetAir entered the aviation market last December and currently operates flights to and from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Hai Phong.

It plans to launch services to Vinh, Phu Quoc, Da Lat, and destinations in southeast and northeast Asia by the year end, when it will double its fleet of three Airbus aircraft.

The fleet is to be expanded to 15 by 2015.

Since VietJetAir began flying last December, the airline has suffered several delays due to technical errors.

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

The new airline has tried various promotions including offering tickets for VND10,000 ($0.48) or VND99,000 ($4.75), taxes and fees not included.

It was fined VND20 million ($951) for organizing a bikini show on its inaugural flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang in the central coast on August 3.

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