VietJet joins big league with huge aircraft order

VietJet Air currently operates a fleet of nine A320s
VietJet Air currently operates a fleet of nine A320s

Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet Air has signed a huge new aircraft order that will put it among the ranks of Asia’s biggest budget airlines.

The airline, which only launched in December 2011, has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for up to 100 A320 aircraft, to drive its expansion across the Asia Pacific region. The order includes firm orders for 62 A320 aircraft – 14 standard A320s, six stretched A321s and 42 new fuel-efficient A320neos. It will lease a further eight A320s, while the order also includes options for 30 more aircraft.

This week, VietJet took delivery of its ninth A320, from US-based leasing company AWAS. It operates all its aircraft in a single-cabin configuration with 180 seats.

“The A320 has proven to be extremely efficient in service with VietJet Air and is a favourite with our passengers,”said Luu Duc Khanh, managing director of VietJet Air. “Based on this experience, we look forward to developing our business with the most economic and comfortable aircraft available today.”

VietJet was originally intended to be AirAsia’s local partner in Vietnam, but the tie-up was rejected by the country’s government. Since launching on its own however, airline has quickly expanded its route network across Vietnam. This year it launched its first international flights to Bangkok, and is also planning to expand to regional destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore and Taipei in future.

And like AirAsia, VietJet is also planning to expand its operations beyond its home country, with plans for new Thai subsidiary based at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

The latest order marks another success for Airbus in the Asian LCC market. Cebu Pacific is gradually expanding its fleet with orders for more than 50 A320s, while AirAsia has bought a total of 475 A320s. And in March 2013, Indonesia’s Lion Air placed a firm order for 234 A320s.

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