Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Several Vietnamese air carriers yesterday signed agreements with European aircraft maker Airbus in Hà Nội to buy 40 airplanes during an official visit by President Francois Hollande.
According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Dương Trí Thành, President and CEO of Vietnam Airlines, and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO, in the presence of President Hollande and President Trần Đại Quang, the national carrier Vietnam Airlines will buy 10 A350-900 aircraft, which will enable Vietnam Airlines to operate flights non-stop to the United States, carrying 305 passengers in a three class premium layout.
The carrier last year became the first airline in East Asia and the second in the world to operate the A350-900 XWB. It already has four aircraft in service, with another 10 on order for future delivery.
Thành said the intent to acquire these additional aircraft reflected VNA’s excellent experience with the A350 since it entered the carrier’s service last year.
"With its very long-range capability, economic fuel consumption and spacious cabin design, the A350 is the suitable aircraft for our proposed intercontinental routes to Europe and the United States. The start of non-stop transpacific services with the A350 is yet another example of the commitment we have at Vietnam Airlines to strengthen our position as one of the world’s leading international carriers," Thành said.
The new generation aircraft is a crucial factor in ensuring Vietnam Airlines’ 4-star service quality, which could be upgraded to 5-star service in the near future.
On the same day, low-cost carrier Jetstar Pacific, a joint venture between Vietnam Airlines and Qantas Airways (Australia), officially inked a contract with Airbus to buy 10 new generation Airbus A320 aircraft from Airbus.
The contract was signed by Jetstar Pacific’s chief executive officer Lê Hồng Hà and Brégier. The aircraft, which will be delivered in 2017, will help Jetstar Pacific expand its domestic and international flight network. Jetstar Pacific plans to increase its fleet to 30 Airbus A320 between 2016 and 2020.
“This order is a key milestone for our operation here in Việt Nam and beyond,” said Hà.
“These new aircraft will be used primarily to expand our international network. As competition grows in Việt Nam, we believe that the A320 and our value-based quality service will place us well to attract a growing share of the market," said Hà.
Brégier said, “We are pleased to sign our first purchase agreement with Jetstar Pacific.
“The order reinforces the position of the A320 as the single aisle aircraft of choice for airlines in Việt Nam. We look forward to developing further our partnership with Jetstar Pacific as it consolidates its position in the fast-growing South East Asian market.”
Low-cost private airline Vietjet yesterday clinched a deal valued at some US$2.39 billion with Airbus to buy 20 more A321 aircraft.
"Vietjet is benefitting from the very significant economies that come from operating a single aircraft family. For busier routes, the A321 combines higher capacity with the lowest operating costs in its class, offering unbeatable efficiency," Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Bregier said.
"We look forward to further developing our partnership with Vietjet, including working with the airline to develop its new training facility," he added.
The airplanes will be delivered to Vietjet from 2017 until 2020.
Vietjet is the first airline in Việt Nam to operate as a new-age airline with low costs and diversified services to meet customers’ demands.
Currently, the airline operates more than 250 flights per day. It operates 50 routes in Việt Nam and across the region to international destinations, such as Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as mainland China, Myanmar and Malaysia. It has carried some 25 million passengers to date.
Further co-operation in aviation
In a related development, Brégier announced several new collaborative agreements to further contribute to the development of Việt Nam’s aerospace sector.
These cover increased industrial work, a project to enhance the country’s air traffic management system and support for the development of academic courses at graduate and post-graduate levels.
Airbus said Hà Nội-based Nikkiso Việt Nam had been awarded four new packages to produce composite parts for wide-body programmes.
They include torque boxes and cargo door components for the A350 XWB, and parts for wing tips and wing trailing edges for the A330neo. The deal follows an initial package, in place since 2014, to produce composite panels for wing tip sharklets on the single aisle A320 Family.
Airbus also signed an accord with Artus Việt Nam, a subsidiary of Meggitt PLC, which has been supplying electronic and electromechanical equipment for Airbus aircraft since 1996.
Under the agreement, the two companies will evaluate a significant increase in the production of Airbus components to be supplied by Artus Việt Nam over the next 10 years, as well as committing to work together to stimulate the development of the aerospace sector in Việt Nam.
In the area of infrastructure development, NAVBLUE, Airbus’s subsidiary dedicated to flight operations and air traffic management services, signed a letter of intent with Việt Nam Air Traffic Management to help enhance the efficiency of the country’s air traffic control system, especially around Hà Nội and HCM City.
Airbus signed two memoranda of understanding with the University of Sciences and Technology of Hà Nội (USTH), partner of the Vietnamese Academy of Sciences and Technologies.
One will see the company provide support and expertise for the creation of an aeronautics department at USTH, while the second covers the development of a specialised master’s degree in safety management systems in partnership with France’s Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile.
Brégier said: “We are extremely pleased to take our relationship with Việt Nam to the next stage with these additional agreements. Việt Nam is one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets and has great potential to develop a thriving aerospace business.”
“We look forward to increasing further our industrial presence in Vietnam in the coming years, as well as supporting developments in areas such as air traffic management, training and higher education.” — VNS