Vietnam Airlines is planning an aggressive aviation expansion; moving into European markets such as Amsterdam, Berlin and Milan in the coming years.
To carry out its ambitious plans, president and CEO Pham Ngoc Minh told Aviation Week the carrier will be looking to double its fleet over the next eight years. The majority of the aircraft will be of the wide-bodied variety, he confirmed.
Pilots from Vietnam Airlines could also find themselves adjusting their flight radar for flights to India, South Asia and the Middle East, where Minh says he sees even more “potential”.
First though, Vietnam Airlines has ambitions to become a network carrier for the Asia Pacific region.
“We will try to match Thai Airways International and Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the region and by 2013 will hopefully be third in the market behind SIA and Thai Airways,” explained Minh. “Then maybe in 2020, we will be the successful number two airline after SIA,” he added, reportedly inferring the airline’s desire to take over Thai Airways.
The carrier, formed in 1956 under the name Vietnam Civil Aviation, currently has 72 aircraft in its fleet. It flies to 26 international destinations in the USA, Europe, Australia and Asia, says VietnamAirlines.com.
Its most recent European adventure was the launch of its Ho Chi Minh City-London Gatwick route, which currently has a passenger load factor averaging at around 60 per cent on its twice-weekly service.