Following their recent awarding of Category 1 by the FAA, Vietnam Airlines are looking khổng lồ purchase two widebody aircraft for their US routes. Under consideration are the two most in demand jets of the moment, the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350.

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Vietnam Airlines are looking to lớn order two widebody aircraft to service their newly approved routes between HCMC & California & are weighing up the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 777X for the order.

CEO of Vietnam Airlines, Duong Tri Thanh, said they were interested lớn stimulate competition between the two plane making giants. Speaking khổng lồ Bloomberg he said:

“It will be an opportunity for Vietnam Airlines to lớn invite competition between the aircraft manufacturers, mainly Airbus & Boeing. The final plan will be submitted to lớn the government. We expect something lớn happen this year.”

In addition to the widebody purchase, Vietnam Airlines are also looking at a purchase of up lớn 100 737 MAX aircraft to replace their fleet of aging Airbus single aisle jets. Although the MAX mã sản phẩm was unspecified, it’s looking likely to lớn be the popular MAX 8, which would make the order worth up khổng lồ $12bn at danh sách prices.

One the order is placed, Thanh has said that they expect aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2030.

The 777X versus the A350

It seems carriers fall into one of two camps when it comes to the renewal of widebody jets. You’re either Airbus or you’re Boeing, with both the 777X and the A350 offering amazing range, high capacity and unrivalled economy.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, lớn hear that Vietnam Airlines are considering the two aircraft side by side for their widebody fleet. Reports suggest they are looking to purchase at least two widebody planes for their US services, following recent regulatory approval for their air safety system.

Vietnam Airlines secured a Category 1 rating from the FAA. Photo: Vietnam Airlines
Vietnam Airlines aviation safety system was given US approval by the FAA just over a week ago, which will allow the airline to lớn fly to the US. Having secured a Category 1 rating, it’s a testament to how much the Vietnamese aviation industry has matured over the past few years, và is also a boon for Delta, who codeshare with the carrier.

We recently reported that Qantas were considering one of the two widebodies for their ‘project sunrise’ mega-route from Sydney to lớn London. Thai Airways and Korean Air are also weighing up the rival jets for their fleet renewal also.

Initial routes will be from HCMC to lớn either SFO or LAX
Whichever aircraft they plump for, they are planning khổng lồ move quickly lớn launch their US services. Flying from their hub at Ho chi Minh City, initial routes will run either to Los Angeles or San Francisco, both of which are home to a large Vietnamese-American population, according khổng lồ the carrier.

Unprofitable for 10 years

Although the ambitions of the airline are admirable, they seem khổng lồ be going into this new venture with their eyes wide open. Thanh has already stated that, taking into tài khoản the distances & competition on the route, they expect their Vietnam to lớn California route lớn be unprofitable for up to lớn 10 years, requiring state subsidy as a result.

It’s not the only place that Vietnam Airlines are facing tough competition. Bamboo Airways took their first flight last month, launching service lớn 37 domestic routes with their fleet of Airbus narrow toàn thân planes.

Bamboo Airways launched last month. Photo: Wikipedia
But it seems Vietnam has the demand to support both these carriers, & probably a lot more besides. In the past decade, Vietnamese aviation has grown by some 17.4%, making it one of the fastest growing aviation industries in the world today.

Low cost carrier VietJet is expanding rapidly, with 325 aircraft on order from both Boeing & Airbus, and Air Asia is looking khổng lồ increase services to lớn Vietnam too. Although this would usually spell trouble for a flag carrying airline, with Vietnam Air being almost 90% state owned, it’s unlikely they’re going to lớn run into too much trouble.

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Overall, it’s great khổng lồ see Vietnam Airways expanding, and we’ll be excited lớn see which widebody jet they pick for their fleet.