Vietravel Airlines has been granted an aircraft operator certificate from Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, allowing it to begin operations as soon as next month.
A subsidiary of Vietnamese tour operator Vietravel, the airline plans to debut flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from its hub in Phu Bai, near the central city of Hue. It is also considering expanding to popular domestic destinations such as Da Nang and the rest of Asia as well as the Middle East.
Vietravel has already received its first A321ceo, which seats 220 passengers. The airline will receive two more aircraft ahead of the anticipated surge in demand around Lunar New Year in February.
Unlike many of its incumbent rivals, the pandemic has been a silver lining for Vietravel, allowing the startup airline to obtain aircraft, pilots, and engineers at attractive rates, said general director Vu Duc Bien, according to VnExpress.
It will also be able to benefit from government stimulus, low fuel prices, and strong domestic demand.
Domestic traffic has largely recovered in Vietnam due to strict measures to control the pandemic. Last month, Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City was the world’s second busiest route, offering over 892,000 seats, according to analytics company OAG.
Vietravel will be competing against carriers including Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, and Bamboo Airways, which have also announced ambitious plans to expand domestically and internationally.