Vietnam’s international aviation market has grown at a phenomenal rate in the past three years, driven by a surging tourism industry. Vietnam is on pace to have 38 million international passengers and 16 million visitors in 2018, compared to only 18 million passengers and eight million visitors in 2015.
Not surprisingly, the rapid growth has captured the attention of both local and foreign airlines. VietJet, one of Asia’s fastest growing LCCs since it launched at the end of 2011, has shifted its focus almost entirely to the international market after concentrating its first five years on domestic services.
The growth has also compelled the Vietnamese real estate company FLC to establish a new hybrid airline, Bamboo Airways, with a focus on the international market. Bamboo could launch domestic services as early as 4Q2018, followed by regional international services in 2019 and long haul services in 2020 using newly ordered 787s. However, there is a risk that Vietnam’s international market will have slowed by the time Bamboo and another high profile proposed start-up, AirAsia Vietnam, enter.