Vietnam's newest airline Bamboo Airways gets aviation licence
Run by one of the country's richest men, Bamboo will compete with well-established heavy hitters such as national carrier Vietnam Airlines and budget carrier Vietjet to serve a mushrooming middle class with growing appetites, and budgets, for travel.
Vietnam's Transport Ministry said Bamboo's official aviation licence had been approved and that it would aim to operate 100 routes, including to lesser-travelled destinations in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia, with plans to eventually fly to North America.
"The first domestic flights ... are aimed at reducing pressure on aviation infrastructure in major cities, strengthening regional links (and) promoting tourism to Vietnam," the Transport Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
The airline is owned by Trinh Van Quyet, who heads the FLC property empire that includes lush beachside resorts, golf clubs and luxury condos across Vietnam, a country still under one-party communist rule.
Bamboo has already signed up to buy 20 of Boeing's 787 Dreamliners worth US$5.6 billion and committed a further US$3.2 billion to buy 24 Airbus A321neo planes.
The airline said its inaugural flight, originally scheduled for last month, should take place before the end of the year.
"We have conducted a flight test, the results show that the aircraft fully meets technical specifications (and is) ready to go into operation," CEO Dang Tat Thang said in a statement. ■