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|The signing ceremony between FLC Group and Boeing for purchasing aircraft from the US|
|FLC Group aims to operate more than 10 resorts throughout the country by 2020|
According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, in the first half of 2018, Vietnamese airlines carried 52.8 million passengers on 223,000 flights, up 14 and 10.6 per cent on-year, respectively. During this period, the number of foreign tourists arriving in Vietnam by air reached 6.4 million, up 22 per cent on-year and accounting for 80 per cent of total foreign tourist arrivals.
The aviation market has immense potential for growth, but currently, Vietnam has only three major airlines. According to experts, it is essential to have more airlines entering the market to create a more competitive environment and offer better services to passengers. FLC Group has seen this potential and taken well prepared steps to establish Bamboo Airways.
Following more than four years of preparation and research, FLC Group officially announced that Bamboo Airways’ first flight is scheduled to take off on October 10, 2018. The announcement came after the government approved the establishment of Bamboo Airways and the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam declared the plan feasible following its thorough evaluation and adjustment. These approvals bring Bamboo Airways closer to the completion of legal procedures to be granted a licence by the Ministry of Transport.
In order to increase its competitiveness in the aviation market, FLC Group has built up distinctive directions and strategies.
Trinh Van Quyet, chairman of FLC Group, said that Bamboo Airways has a comprehensive strategy, with good preparation in human resources and infrastructure, so the airline will have strong investment right from the beginning. Bamboo Airways will start with 20 aircraft in 2018, aiming to become a giant with 50 aircraft and 37 domestic and international routes from 2019.
“If it had opted to start with only one to three aircraft, as some now-defunct airlines have done in the past, FLC Group would not be able to compete with the existing airlines,” Quyet said.
According to its plan, in addition to 44 aircraft purchased from Boeing and Airbus, which will be handed over from late 2019, FLC Group will lease 20 aircraft to serve domestic routes in 2018 and 30 more aircraft in 2019 to meet customer demand. “This is a crucial advantage of Bamboo Airways,” Quyet said.
Bamboo Airways is positioned as a “hybrid” airline, combining the traditional and low-cost models, with the aim of offering a diversity of services that satisfy different demands in every passenger segment, and becoming the first airline in Vietnam to offer first-class seats.
Currently, local carriers only focus on flights to and from big cities in Vietnam and tend to ignore routes to rising destinations such as Sam Son, Halong, Quy Nhon, and Dong Hoi. FLC Group’s chairman said that the group has been running charter flights to its resorts in these destinations but still failed to meet the increasing demand of visitors.
Hence, in addition to the major routes, Bamboo Airways will focus on exploring routes connecting high-potential holiday destinations. This strategy will help reduce infrastructure congestion, meet the demand in some customer segments, and increase the locality connection, as well as bringing benefits to provinces, customers, and the airline.
It is expected that Bamboo Airways will launch pilot flights at the end of August or in early September for the Hanoi-Quy Nhon and Ho Chi Minh City-Quy Nhon routes.
An important element giving Bamboo Airways a competitive edge is the benefits from FLC hotels and resorts across the country, with tens of thousands of five-star hotel rooms and golf links.
FLC Group aims to develop and operate more than 10 resorts throughout Vietnam by 2020, each with between 1,000 and 4,000 rooms. In total, FLC Group will have between 30,000 and 50,000 five-star rooms, helping to boost local tourism. These resorts are often fully occupied during the peak season. For example, FLC Samson Beach and Golf Resort (Thanh Hoa) receives an average of 5,000 customers per day and up to 6,000 on weekends. International golf tournaments, cultural events, and festivals with thousands of guests are often held at these resorts.
“FLC resorts and hotels have created benefits for other airlines, so they will surely create efficiency for Bamboo Airways,” Quyet said.
According to Dang Tat Thang, CEO of Bamboo Airways, the new airline will have exclusive airfare policies for customers, such as offering free flights for people booking rooms in FLC resorts and hotels and vice versa.
With all of these advantages, FLC Group expects to soon reach its ambitious target of becoming a major carrier in Vietnam, and contributing to the development of the country’s aviation and tourism industries.