Asia’s most popular budget carrier, AirAsia has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation outlining its intention to set up a low-cost carrier in Vietnam alongside local partners. The signing took place at the Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit 2018, with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister, Vu Duc Dam and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Le Quang Tung in attendance.
The memorandum was signed by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes and Vietnamese businessman Tran Trong Kien, in his capacity as CEO of Thien Minh Travel Joint Stock Company (TMG) and general director of Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Company (HAA), at the InterContinental Hanoi in December.
“AirAsia is an ASEAN airline. And in ASEAN, Vietnam is one of the last remaining countries with a large population we’re not in,” said AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes following the signing. “Last year, when we announced this JV, we were bullish about Vietnam and we remain incredibly bullish about serving one of the most dynamic, fastest-growing economies in Asia,” he continued.
“AirAsia is already the largest foreign airline group in Vietnam by capacity. We currently operate to five destinations here, including our most recent addition, Phu Quoc. And we will continue to expand our network to connect Vietnam to ASEAN and beyond, something our local JV will be able to accelerate. We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of bringing more visitors to this amazing country and delivering true low-cost air travel to 95 million Vietnamese in the near future.”
Tran Trong Kien said: “Vietnam tourism has performed extremely well. The number of international arrivals has doubled over the last three years and domestic and outbound travel have also grown tremendously. The sector has contributed greatly to recent economic development and social progress. Vietnam as a country needs better connectivity to continue this trend and for tourism to reach its full potential. Adding a new airline, especially at this stage and with an experienced operator like AirAsia, is a much needed and welcomed move. This new airline will bring more and better choices to our people in the years to come.”
Each week, AirAsia currently operates 141 return flights across 13 routes connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bharu in Malaysia, Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand and Manila in the Philippines. The airline has carried 12 million passengers to and from Vietnam since it entered the market in 2005.