VietJetAir, a private low-cost airline that began operation late last year, recently announced that it would open two new routes and increase flights between its current single route between Ha Noi and HCM City. Viet Nam News talked with Deputy General Director Pritam Singh about the market in Viet Nam and the company's business development plans.
How do you assess the market and the low-cost one in particular?
As stated by Giovanni Bisignani, International Air Transport Association's Director General and CEO, the future for Vietnamese aviation is bright. By 2014, Viet Nam is projected to be the world's third fastest growing market for international passengers and freight, and the second fastest for domestic passengers. This also means that the opportunities for low-cost carriers will be huge in the coming time.
However, it is a future that cannot be taken for granted as there are still many challenges facing airlines such as high inflation, rising fuel costs, low salaries of many Vietnamese and flat foreign and domestic investment. All these factors will affect the businesses of existing airlines, including VietJetAir.
However, we are trying our best to keep losses low in the first two years of operation and aim to be well financed in the next three years. We do hope that the Government and authorised agencies can ease tax constraints, open up the aviation market and reduce red tape to help support the development of the aviation market and increase investment in the market in the future.
Is there any pressure with Vietnam Airlines being entrusted with the State-owned stake in the low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific?
As I said earlier, the Vietnamese aviation market still has huge potential for development. The existing airlines' expansion plans, thus, are good for Vietnamese and international tourists as end-users. As for VietJetAir, we have clear operations and management strategies, which are expected to keep us on track in the long run.
All passengers who have flown with VietJetAir gave us positive feedback. Together with international operational standards, we will continue to enhance our services to help expand the aviation market in Viet Nam and overseas.
What are your expansion plans?
We will launch new services between HCM City and Da Nang on April 27 and between Ha Noi and Nha Trang on May 19. The former will have two flights a day and the latter, one daily flight. We will also increase flights on the HCM City-Ha Noi route to eight flights per day from April 27 from the current three.
We are confident that the new routes will have more domestic and international destinations and will be able to meet increasing air travel demand and stimulate new travel demand, especially from young adults, businesspeople and tourists.
We are also considering launching a HCM City-Hai Phong route next and flights to other destinations in the country. Asia will be launched at the end of this year, with northern Asia and Southeast Asia our priorities for international services. We operate a three-aircraft fleet and will add three aircraft every year, with the aim of having a total of 15 aircraft in 2015.
Why did you choose this time for development?
The global economy has been enduring an economic slowdown since 2008. Viet Nam and neighbouring countries have felt the slowdown in some ways but have not been much affected by the crisis so far.
VietJetAir officially entered the market in late 2011 with one service between HCM City and Ha Noi. I think this is the right time for us to expand the business and to become well prepared for the coming market boom in the wake of the global economic recovery.
If we wait for the market to get better, the competition will become more fierce. Also, I think even in hard times, we still need to speed up to help enhance the domestic economy's recovery and growth as well. We will all benefit from this growth. — VNS