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Vietnam is a country on the rise. Its economy has experienced years of economic growth and reports suggest that it will become the fastest growing emerging economy in the near future. The government and private enterprise have realised the key role that aviation will play in the economic development of the country and moves are already underway for innovative partnerships between the state and private companies to develop Vietnam’s aviation infrastructure with the view to becoming a regional hub for both passenger and cargo services. Alongside this development, the state has moved to significantly deregulate aviation with the monopoly once enjoyed by Vietnam Airlines now open to competition from new domestic carrier Jetstar Pacific and other regional LCCs Jetstar Asia, Tiger Airways and AirAsia. The state owned Vietnam Airlines is ambitious and has its sights set on becoming a major force on the global aviation stage. Vietnam Airlines operates an extensive route network from its hubs at Noi Bai International Airport and Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Airports in Vietnam
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Shortly after Emirates Airline announced its remarkable breakthrough partnership with Qantas in Sep-2012, Emirates CEO Tim Clark said he had also been talking to American Airlines for some time and publicly expressed hopes that the two would also establish a close relationship. This was despite the fact that American already had an extensive codeshare relationship with Etihad; and the third Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways, has since been invited to join the oneworld alliance – which American leads.
The Gulf airlines, and particularly Emirates, have had a devastating impact on European long-haul hub carriers. The impact will be different for US airlines, but despite the different geography, it will be much bigger than most expect. For one thing they will cut across the developed boundaries of the global alliances.
Cambodia Angkor Air is planning rapid fleet and network expansion as competition intensifies in the Cambodian market. The Cambodian flag carrier is expected to more than double its fleet by the end of 2015 and launch services to several new markets, including mainland China, Hong Kong, India and South Korea. Cambodia Angkor Air was established in 2009 as a joint venture with Vietnam Airlines but remains one of the smallest flag carriers in Southeast Asia, only operating domestically and to two neighbouring countries.
Cambodia Angkor Air has already seen its most dramatic expansion in its four-year history, launching three international routes over the last six months. Further rapid expansion of Cambodia Angkor Air and the planned launch of a second Cambodian scheduled carrier that will be affiliated with Philippine Airlines (PAL) should lead to more rapid growth in the Cambodian market. The Cambodian passenger market grew by 18% in 2012 and by 21% in 1Q2013, based on figures from Cambodia Airports.
This is the second of a series of articles on Australia’s need to urgently negotiate expanded bilateral agreements. The first part looked at bilateral constraints in some key North Asian markets, in particular mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as with the United Arab Emirates. This part looks at constraints in Australia currently facing carriers from Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia and the Philippines.
Australia is an important and generally profitable market for airlines from Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as other Southeast Asian countries that have fewer or no limitations on expansion. Australia needs to negotiate new air service agreements with Malaysia and the Philippines or risk having their airlines focus expansion on other destinations.
VietJet Air is planning to add three new domestic and three new international routes in the coming months as Vietnam’s leading low-cost carrier continues to pursue rapid expansion. VietJet has already surpassed rival LCC Jetstar Pacific to become Vietnam’s second largest carrier after Vietnam Airlines with approximately a 15% share of the country’s fast-growing domestic market. The privately-owned carrier will see its share of capacity in Vietnam’s domestic market approach 20% by mid-2013 – an impressive achievement given it only launched services in Dec-2011.
VietJet now operates 10 routes, including one international route, with a fleet of six A320s. It plans to operate by the end of 2013 a fleet of 10 A320s on 16 routes – 12 domestic and four international.
Vietnam’s largest low-cost carrier, VietJet Air, is preparing to quickly expand its international network, taking advantage of growing demand for budget travel to and from Vietnam. The carrier launched its first international route on 10-Feb-2013, Ho Chi Minh-Bangkok, and is looking at several additional potential international destinations in Southeast and North Asia.
Two more international routes as well as additional capacity domestically, where VietJet already has captured a 15% share of the market, are expected in 2013. Vietnam is poised for further LCC domestic and international growth as LCC penetration rates in the country’s domestic and international markets are the lowest among major Southeast Asian countries. VietJet is well positioned, along with a rejuvenated but still very small Jetstar Pacific, to cash in on Vietnam’s LCC boom.
Ethiopian Airlines plans to expand its Asian network with the addition of Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Seoul Incheon from 18-Jun-2013. Hong Kong will also become a direct route from Addis Ababa, rather than operating via Bangkok. But those plans could come unstuck if the grounded 787 fleet is not cleared to return to service by then.
Ethiopian intends to operate Ho Chi Minh, Manila and Seoul Incheon via its two existing Asian hubs, Hong Kong and Bangkok. Seoul and Manila will be an extension of the new direct Addis Ababa-Hong Kong route and Ho Chi Minh is added to the Addis Ababa-Bangkok service. Recently added Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok will be expanded with a fourth frequency from 24-Jun-2013.
Ho Chi Minh and Manila will be served three times weekly while Seoul will have four weekly frequencies. All routes will be operated using Boeing 767-300ER aircraft according to the 12-Feb-2013 GDS timetable and inventory display.