Viet Nam News
Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo
Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo, 47, is the President and CEO of budget airline Vietjet Air. She was Southeast Asia’s only female billionaire to be named on the 2017 Forbes list of Self-Made Women Billionaires in the world.
Thảo has two bachelor’s degrees in finance and labour economics as well a PhD in economic management from Russia. Under her leadership, Vietjet has emerged as a prominent carrier in the local aviation industry, even beating Vietnam Airlines in terms of local market share.
Launched in December 2011, Vietjet Air has pursued its motto to “bring the opportunity to travel by air to all people”. With a fleet of 48 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, the airline currently operates 350 flights each day on 73 routes in Việt Nam and regional destinations in Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, mainland China, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Thảo said she saw huge opportunities in the domestic aviation industry with a population of 94 million people and a rising middle class. Since Vietjet’s entry, the domestic market has grown steadily at over 20 per cent.
Việt Nam is considered one of the fastest-growing air transport industries in the world with an annual average growth of 17 per cent in the last 10 years.
After five years of operation, Vietjet debuted on the stock market in February this year with its market capitalisation pegged at US$1.8 billion and $1.2 billion in annual revenues. It was ranked among Top 500 Brands in Asia 2016 by Nielsen.
In preparation for deeper international and regional integration, the carrier plans to develop international routes within a radius of less than five flying hours. It has signed agreements with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers to purchase brand-new, modern aircraft.
Thảo believes that in the future, e-commerce and low cost airlines will jointly flare up, and with the opening of ASEAN skies, the aviation market will continue to expand. With the philosophy of “creating new customers” instead of “scrambling for market share at all cost”, Vietjet Air will look to co-operate with international airlines to develop its international routes.
While she has built her success in the aviation industry, Thảo is also an influential entrepreneur in the finance and real estate sectors. She is the permanent vice chairwoman of HDBank and chairwoman of Sovico Holdings which runs several five-star resorts and hotels including Furama Resort Đà Nẵng, Ana Mandara and An Lâm Ninh Vân Bay and Dragon City.VNS