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Silk Air set to add routes in Viet Nam

Update: March, 18/2013 - 10:31

Leslie Thng (right) in a talk

SilkAir's dedication to the pursuit of service excellence has been recognized through a series of illustrious awards it has garnered over the years. From the perspective of a major regional airline, what do you think about Viet Nam's market?

We see tremendous growth potential in the Indo-China region and recognise that the Vietnamese market is growing fast. As Viet Nam emerges as a key travel hotspot in the region, SilkAir expects travel demand in the Vietnamese market to grow and remains confident in increasing its network in the country.

2013 has been forecast to be a difficult year for business and surely the airline industry is not immune. A private air carrier in Viet Nam, Mekong Air, has been forced to stop flying due to excessive losses. Why has SilkAir decided to add flights to Da Nang and not to Ha Noi or HCM City?

SilkAir believes there is immense potential in Da Nang that can be tapped in terms of business and tourism traffic. Da Nang is fast emerging as a popular tourist attraction in the region and we anticipate strong demand for this route amongst our business and leisure travellers.

Has SilkAir seen strong profit growth in Viet Nam?

SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, debuted in the central city of Da Nang in 2005 and began offering three direct flights each week between Ha Noi and Singapore from last June. SilkAir will add another direct flight between Singapore and Da Nang beginning March 31. It will be the third direct weekly flight between the two cities, serving the route on Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays, while direct flights to Siem Reap will continue on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Chief Executive of SilkAir Leslie Thng talks to Viet Nam News about the air travel market in Viet Nam. 

While we are unable to share specific figures due to commercial sensitivities, we have noticed a growing demand in the Indo-China region amongst leisure and business travellers and SilkAir remains optimistic on the growth potential of the Vietnamese travel market.

What is Silk Air's target in Viet Nam this year?

While we are unable to disclose specific figures, we remain committed in promoting flights to aim at exceeding the target. As a long-term player in the market, we will continue to stay focused on growing our network in Viet Nam.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing business in Viet Nam? What are the keys to survive fierce competition and success here in your opinion?

Given Viet Nam's economic and social developments over the past decade, the country is fast emerging as a key potential market for foreign investment and trade in the Southeast Asia region. SilkAir remains committed to further grow our business in this market and will work with our partners to achieve our goals.

Many air carriers are co-operating with Vietnamese travel agencies to open tours at reasonable prices. Could SilkAir co-operation in this area increase passenger numbers?

SilkAir's customers pose for the camera. The carrier says it will keep potential routes in Viet Nam under review. — VNS Photos

We remain focused on building up traffic so that the Vietnamese market enjoys the support we want it to have and we will explore further opportunities with our partners to provide more travel options to our joint customers.

How is the company competing against other airlines?

As an integral part of the Singapore Airlines Group, SilkAir remains a full service premium airline. We now have a network of 42 diverse and dynamic destinations across 12 countries. Together with the Singapore Airlines network, our customers have access to 97 destinations in 36 countries worldwide.

Also, we continue to invest heavily in our product and service to offer a pleasant and comprehensive overall experience to our business and leisure customers. Travellers on SilkAir can be assured of a comfortable travel experience, with reliable flight services, spacious seating, as well as a brand of service from our cabin crew that's warm and welcoming.

How do you envision SilkAir's future in the next five years?

We expect travel to remain strong in this region and we plan to grow our footprint in this region, including Indo-China, China and India. Our recent order of 54 new Boeing aircraft signals our intention and it will provide SilkAir with a great opportunity to take advantage of the growth in travel in these emerging markets.

As we move forward, SilkAir remains focused on its mission, as the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, and will continue to explore further opportunities in growing our network.

Do you think that customers prefer budget airlines to full service airlines during the global economic downturn? Will SilkAir open more air routes in other cities in Viet Nam after Da Nang, Ha Noi and HCM City?

We do not foresee new routes in Viet Nam in the immediate future; however we do keep potential new routes under review because we understand the demands of customers are very dynamic.

What do you think about the Vietnamese Government's policies on development of the aviation sector?

Over the past decade, the Vietnamese Government has invested heavily in airport modernization, expansion and rehabilitation to create an efficient network of operational airports. In this regard, SilkAir is honoured to play this critical connecting role of providing direct international connectivity between Singapore and Viet Nam, which will facilitate greater bilateral trade and investment links in both countries. — VNS



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