Air replaces ageing turboprop fleet
HA NOI — Vietnam
Airlines last Saturday officially handed over its first old generation airplane,
an ATR72-200, to the Toulouse-based ATR Company in its first step towards
modernising its fleet.
The flag carrier plans to
gradually replace seven old generation airplanes with ATR72-500s within a year.
The carrier has been using the ATR72-200s since 1992.
Vietnam Airlines ordered
five ATR72-500s from ATR Company in 2007, and six more last December.
Under the deal, Vietnam
Airlines will hand over each old generation airplane before receiving a
The carrier is expected to
have a fleet of 14 ATR72-500s by next year.
The airlines’ deputy
director general, Nguyen Van Hung, said the handing-over ceremony marked a
milestone in the carrier’s development.
The ATR72-500s will fly
short routes in the Mekong River Delta and the northwestern provinces; and Con
Son, Phu Quoc and Indochinese nations.
The new planes should
boost tourism, investment and trade development, improve living standards of
rural residents and boost relationship between Viet Nam and Indochinese
countries, Hung said.
Vietnam Airlines plans to
expand its total fleet of planes to 104 by 2015 and 150 by 2020. — VNS