Vietnam Air replaces ageing turboprop fleet

Vietnam Air replaces ageing turboprop fleet

(25-08-2009)

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 replacement.

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

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