By Putu Deny Wijaya
Bringing Europe Closer: VietJet Reveals Initial Airbus A330 Routes
Vietnamese low-cost carrier VietJet has announced Moscow as its first European destination. From July, the airline has announced that the Russian capital will be connected to three Vietnamese cities. From next year, 10-hour flights will connect Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Nha Trang, Vietnam with Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport twice per week.
Speaking at the launching ceremony on Dec. 2, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi said the nonstop flights indicate the increasing importance of Vietnam-Russia economic relations, undoubtedly boosting trade relations and tourism flows between the two countries.
“Vietjet is ready for international routes. We will continue to invest in a modern fleet of aircraft and will expand our intercontinental flight network in the near future. I believe that the routes to Russia will reflect our product and service commitments to customers,” said Vietjet CEO Dinh Viet Phuong.
The airline said it would launch the new long-haul routes in early July, when its short-haul international services are expected to be fully operational.
Hanoi is slated to start with two weekly flights on July 3. From July 10, Ho Chi Minh will be served via a one-stop through-plane service through Hanoi, while Nha Trang will be operated twice weekly.
Although not yet bookable, Moscow appears to have a better chance of materializing than Bamboo Airways’ many new long-haul flights to the U.S., Melbourne, Prague, Munich, and other destinations.
Russia is a lucrative outbound market. Russia is already Vietnam’s largest European source market, as the number of Russian travelers to Vietnam has surged in recent years. Before the pandemic flared up in early 2020, Vietnam welcomed nearly one million Russian visitors in 2019. According to ForwardKeys, the growing number of Russian visitors to Vietnam was attributed to a surge in the seating capacity from Russia to Vietnam, which was up 153% in 2019.
So far, the connection between the two companies has been the purview of Russian airlines, some of which have operated seasonal charter flights between Russia and Vietnam in recent years. VietJet would be the first Vietnamese airline and the first low-cost carrier to serve the routes.
Vietnam has emerged as a favorite destination in the post-pandemic thanks to its natural scenery and reasonable prices. Of tourist attractions, Hanoi is a political, economic and cultural center that offers routes to famous places like Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Trang An in the north. Ho Chi Minh City, meanwhile, is a dynamic city with financial and economic hubs. Nha Trang is the most favorite place in Vietnam for Russian visitors with typically tropical weather, world-class beaches, and amazing food.
VietJet announced plans to purchase three leased Airbus A330s in early November, marking the airline’s first foray into the widebody market. They will probably be deployed around Asia as well, especially at peak periods, in addition to Moscow and any other European destination that the airline may seek to add.
VietJet owns 75 Airbus A320ceos andAirbus A321neos, according to ch-aviation.com. It has placed further orders for 320 aircraft, mostly the A321neo and Boeing 737 MAX. Thai VietJet, on the other hand, has 16 planes, all of which are A320ceos or A321ceos.
The airline was founded in 2007 as the first privately-owned airline to launch in the country in recent history.