Vietnam's Bamboo Airways to start its first commercial flights on Wednesday

Bamboo Airways will start international flights to Asian countries this year, starting with Japan, Korea and Singapore.
Bamboo Airways will start international flights to Asian countries this year, starting with Japan, Korea and Singapore.PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (BLOOMBERG) - Vietnam's Bamboo Airways, after repeated delays, will start commercial flights on Jan 16, the company said in an e-mailed statement.

The carrier set minimum ticket prices at 149,000 dong (S$8.65) each. The carrier will initially operate 37 domestic routes, the company said in a separate statement. Bamboo Airways will also start this year international flights to Asian countries, starting with Japan, Korea and Singapore, it said.

Hotel and leisure company FLC Group JSC, which owns Bamboo Airways, will be competing in one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets against state-owned Vietnam Airlines JSC and budget carrier VietJet Aviation JSC.

The International Air Transport Association forecasts Vietnam will be among the world's top five fastest-growing air travel markets in the next 20 years. The route between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is already the world's sixth-busiest in terms of passenger numbers last year, according to IATA.

Bamboo Airways will initially use 20 leased narrow-body and wide-body aircraft, the carrier has said. FLC agreed to buy 24 Airbus SE A321neo planes worth US$3.2 billion at list price for Bamboo Airways.

In June, it signed a commitment for 20 Boeing Co twin-aisle 787-9 Dreamliners with a list price of US$5.6 billion.

Vietnam's airports in 2018 handled 106 million passengers, a 12.9 per cent increase over the previous year, according to a statement on the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam's website. Vietnamese carriers flew more than 50 million passengers, a 14 per cent jump from 2017.