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Vietnam Airlines Corporation
Tổng Công ty Hàng không Việt Nam
IATA
VN
ICAO
HVN
Callsign
VIET NAM AIRLINES
Founded 1956 (as Vietnam Civil Aviation)
Hubs Tan Son Nhat International Airport
Noi Bai International Airport
Long Thanh International Airport (future)[1]
Secondary hubs Da Nang International Airport
Focus cities Cam Ranh International Airport
Frequent flyer program Golden Lotus Plus
Member lounge Golden Lotus Lounge
Alliance SkyTeam (21 June 2010)[2]
Subsidiaries Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO)
Fleet size 57[3] (+80 orders) (150 in 2020)
Destinations 64 (including code-shares)[4]
Company slogan Bringing Vietnamese Culture to the World
Parent company Vietnam Airlines Corporation
Headquarters Hanoi, Vietnam
Key people Nguyen Sy Hung (Chairman)[5]
Pham Ngoc Minh (President and CEO)[2]
Website http://www.vietnamairlines.com

Vietnam Airlines Corporation (Vietnamese: Tổng Công ty Hàng không Việt Nam), operating as Vietnam Airlines (Vietnamese: Hãng Hàng không Quốc gia Việt Nam), is the national flag carrier of Vietnam, and was established as a state enterprise in April 1989. It has its headquarters in the Long Bien district of Hanoi.[6]

Vietnam Airlines Corporation was subsequently formed in 1993, after bringing together several service companies. The company is overseen by a seven-seat management board, members of which are appointed by the Vietnamese Prime Minister.[7] Vietnam Airlines used to be the major stakeholder in Vietnam's second largest carrier, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, but its share has recently been transferred to the Ministry of Finance, then subsequently, to the State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC).

Vietnam Airlines owns 100% of Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) – a regional airline in southern Vietnam, and 49% of Cambodia Angkor Air – the national flag carrier of Cambodia.

The 3-star airline[8] is expected to become a member of SkyTeam in June 2010 making it the sole Southeast Asian carrier to join that airline alliance.[9] Also, during the months September and October, Vietnam Airlines will be managing all the transportation of the beauty pageant Miss World as it is the official airline of the contest.[10]

Contents

History

Vietnam Airlines can trace its roots back to 1956,[11] when it was established by the North Vietnamese government after the nationalizing of Gia Lam Airport; back then the airline’s name was Vietnam Civil Aviation. It’s small fleet back then consisted of 5 aging Russian-made planes;[12] this is so because there was an embargo established saying the airline is prohibited to lease and/or buy American technology or components.[13]

It’s first international destination was Beijing, followed by Vientiane in 1976.[14] During that year, the airline was known as General Department of Civil Aviation in Vietnam,[15] and began full operations, carrying around 21,000 passengers, of which one-third are on international flights and 3,000 tonnes of cargo.[3] In 1978, another important destination of Vietnam Airlines was added, with flights offered to Bangkok.[4]

Golden Lotus logo on a Boeing 777

During the late 1980s and early 1990s saw the airline expanding its route maps to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Singapore.[5] In 1992 the airline was able to acquire the American-built jets in the form of the Boeing 737 and Boeing 767. It was able to do so by chartering the planes, instead of leasing or buying them, and by painting them white.[6] Also, during this time, many more destinations like Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Sydney and Melbourne were added.[7]

In 1993 the airline officially changed its name to the present Vietnam Airlines.[8]

On September 1996, Vietnam Airlines started offering Business Class services and three years later, on the eve of the second millennium, the airline launched its frequent flyer program, Golden Lotus Plus.

The airlines’ new livery – the Golden Lotus – was unveiled in 2002,[5] to replace the airlines’ blue and white ‘Stork and Moon’ motif.

Destinations

Vietnam Airlines has an extensive network throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and Oceania. The airline flies to 20 destinations domestically, and to another 28 internationally.[9] In addition, it has code-share agreements with a number of airlines for 16 other routes, some of which span to North America. Recently, the airline has announced that it would open new routes to Yangon, Burma;[16][17] and to Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.[18]

Fleet

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Passengers

Boeing 777-200ER in Vietnam Airlines livery

The airline started out with 5 Russian airplanes.[10] During its early days, it wasn’t able to use American airplanes due a an embargo against the airline. In 1992 Vietnam airlines acquired a number of Boeing 737s and Boeing 767s by chartering the planes, instead of leasing or buying them.[11] Later, the airline purchased two 80-seat ATR-72s, made by the French company Avion de Transport Régional. Following the crash of the airline’s Tupolev Tu-134 at Phnom Penh in 1997, it has undergone a fleet replacement, retiring the old Russian planes and replacing them with newer Airbus and Boeing aircraft.[19]

In December, 2001, Vietnam Airlines signed a historic agreement between them and Boeing. It orders its first ever American planes, signalling the start of trade under the Bilateral Trade Agreement between the two countries. The airline ordered four Boeing 777-200ERs, to be delivered in 2003, under a list price of US$680 (2003).[20][21]

In September 2005, Vietnam Airlines ordered eight Boeing 787-8 aircraft[22] to be delivered from 2009,[23] and 10 Airbus A321-200 for deliveries starting from the same year; however, due to the delays of the Boeing 787, Vietnam Airlines will acquire its state-of-the art Boeing 787-8's soon after Boeing completes its test. The first delivery date for Vietnam Airlines, in regards to the company's Boeing 787–8, is yet to be announced by Boeing. These new aircraft will allow Vietnam Airlines to expand its network and replace some of its aircraft currently on lease in the fleet.[24]

On 1 October 2007 Vietnam Airlines signed an Memorandum of Understanding for the order of 10 Airbus A350 XWB[25] and an additional 20 Airbus A321s.[25]

According to USA Today, Vietnam Airlines has signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus, confirming its negotiations to order four Airbus A380s. There are rumors that these aircraft will allow for Vietnam Airlines to expand its services into North America.[26] As of 6 February 2010, the average age of the Vietnam Airlines fleet is 8.6 years.[27]

The Vietnam Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of 6 February 2010):[28][29]

Vietnam Airlines Passenger Fleet
Aircraft Total Order Passengers
(Business/Duluxe Economy/Economy)
Notes
Airbus A320-200 10 0 160 (0/0/162)
150 (12/0/138)
1 aircraft is being leased to Cambodia Angkor Air[30]
Airbus A321-231 17 33 184 (16/0/168) Deliveries: 2008–2011 (will receive 16 new A321-231s in 2010)[31]
Airbus A330-200 6 0 266 (24/0/242) AVOD in-flight entertainment
Airbus A330-300 1 0 320 (36/0/284) AVOD in-flight entertainment
Airbus A350-900 0 12 TBA Entry into service: 2014
Airbus A380-800 0 4[26] TBA Entry into service: 2015
MoU was signed with Airbus regarding the purchase in
November, 2009; yet to be confirmed
ATR 72-202 6 0 66 (0/0/66) 2 aircraft are being leased to Cambodia Angkor Air[30]
ATR 72-500 5 15 68 (0/0/68)
Boeing 777-200ER 10 0 282 (54/0/228)
295 (12/0/283)
307 (25/54/228)
325 (35/0/290)
338 (32/0/306)
AVOD in-flight entertainment; PTVs
offered in all cabin classes on some Boeing 777s
Boeing 787-8 0 16 TBA Entry into service: 4th quarter, 2010
8 orders via VALC, which will serve Vietnam Airlines[22]
Fokker 70 2 0 79 (0/0/79) To be phased out by 2012 – Replacement aircraft: Airbus A321
Total 57 80 Some old aircraft to be replaced with newer ones
150 aircraft in fleet by 2020

Cargo

Vietnam Airlines Cargo is the cargo division of Vietnam Airlines, providing cargo service to hundreds of destinations in Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania, through their own network as well as partners' network. It also operates the International Cargo Terminal, which is a joint venture with Singapore Airport Terminal Service, at Tan Son Nhat International Airport. The division has the number of following aircraft:[32][33]

Vietnam Airlines Cargo Fleet
Aircraft Total Order Notes
Airbus A300 1
Airbus A320 family 2
Airbus A330 1
Boeing 777-200ER 3

Retired

A Vietnam Airlines Boeing 767 in old livery

In-flight services

Entertainment

On long-haul international flights, all seats are equipped with Audio/Video On Demand (AVOD) in-flight entertainment via PTVs available in all cabin classes on some Vietnam Airlines Boeing 777-200ER's. Onboard domestic, as well as international flights, Vietnam Airlines offer two in-flight magazines, Heritage and Heritage Fashion.

Airline Alliance

Vietnam Airlines does not currently belong to an airline alliance, but code-shares with SkyTeam founding member Korean Air and with China Southern Airlines, which joined in 2007. Vietnam Airlines also has code-shares with four current Oneworld members – American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and Qantas and is part of Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles program. It has been confirmed that Vietnam Airlines will join SkyTeam in June 2010.[34]

Code-Share and Interline Agreements

In addition, Vietnam Airlines has interline agreements with many other airlines, namely Belavia[35] of Belarus, S7 Airlines[36] of Russia, and Virgin Blue[37][38] of Australia. Also, following Vietnam Airlines' entry into SkyTeam in 2010, it is expected to code-share with other SkyTeam members.

Incidents and accidents

Vietnam Airlines experienced three fatal and several non-fatal incidents in the last 20 years. All fatal incidents have involved Russian made aircraft that have since been phased out of service. Most of these incidents occurred on final approach or landing. All three fatal crashes occurred in driving rain.

Vietnam Airlines has two reported hijackings occurrences. [39]

Training

According to the Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines, a trade association of Asian based airlines, Vietnam’s aviation industry lacks experience in the realm of pilot and crew training. However, Vietnam Airlines is effecting continual improvements in this field. Vietnam Airlines undertook plans to train 400 pilots shortly after the start of the year 2000.

Transportation of dangerous goods, cabin crew training, CRM (crew-resource management) and pilot training are all safety enhancing programs taught to airline personnel. New Vietnamese pilots are assigned as Western-type aircraft co-pilots. All pilots – both national and foreign – receive biannual simulator training and periodic line checks by Western pilots. A Hanoi-based Airbus cabin mock-up is specifically used for smoke and evacuation training.[40]

Most ATR captains and co-pilots are Vietnamese. Currently, Airbus captains and co-pilots are approximately one-third foreign and two-thirds Vietnamese citizens. All Fokker flight crews are Vietnamese, but instructors and check pilots are expatriates. Most Boeing flight crews are Vietnamese, and about one-third foreign.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam signed a contract with Sofréavia of France to set up a pilot training school in the central province of Phu Yen in late 1998. To date, this has not been completed. Only 40 per cent of Vietnam Airlines’ aircraft are captained by Vietnamese citizens, all of whom are required to attend training programs abroad. Many pilots have received training at the General Flying Services in Melbourne, Australia.

Maintenance

Boeing maintenance at Vietnam Airlines

Scheduled maintenance intervals are relatively conservative and follow the manufacturers' recommendations. Major engine and propeller maintenance is contracted to qualified overseas maintenance facilities, although a shift to performing more maintenance in-house is currently taking place. There have been no serious maintenance discrepancies with Vietnam Airlines in its history. Maintenance of Vietnam Airlines has been rated as one of the best in the world, and has passed many audits by competent regulatory bodies – including IOSA – without any remarkable findings.

As of 1 May 1992, Vietnam Airlines began conducting its own western-built aircraft repair and maintenance, starting with French-Italian turboprop ATR-72. Vietnamese technicians have since conducted repairs and maintenance of Boeing 737, Airbus A320, and Fokker F70 aircraft, and began maintenance checks on Boeing 767 aircraft in 1999, Boeing 777 aircraft in 2002. The transfer of maintenance and repair work from Airbus to Vietnam Airlines is projected to save the airline US$20 million a year. In August 1998, 15 technicians from the flag carrier took a course on aircraft maintenance and repair at the Boeing Center in Seattle. Vietnam Airlines sent all 45 technicians in mechanical engineering and wireless transmission to Boeing for the course, which ended in 1999. Trainees had been appraised as best at the Seattle FlightSafety Boeing training facility and were issued certificates, which are recognized by Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority. Additionally, in June 1998, Boeing signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam Airlines stating that it would, at its own cost, assist Vietnam Airlines in a maintenance and engineering support program to upgrade the aircraft-maintenance center at Tan Son Nhat Airport, so that it can become a full-capability maintenance center for Boeing 767 aircraft.

In conjunction with other investors, in April 1998, Vietnam Airlines stated it would invest US$1 million to develop an aircraft tire and brake maintenance workshop at the Ho Chi Minh City-based Aircraft Maintenance Center (AMC) A-75, with the assistance of Japan Airlines. Upon completion, the hangar facility now has a US$16 million tire/wheel/brake overhaul facility and a US$12 million avionics test and repair facility, capable of full maintenance on Vietnam Airlines aircraft fleet's wheels and brakes.

There are no production facilities in Vietnam for aircraft and aircraft parts. Boeing has managed to obtain 35 per cent of the distribution market in Vietnam, and General Electric, in turn, supplies jet engines for the Boeing aircraft.

In addition to its self maintenance facilities, Vietnam Airlines also has maintenance contracts with Air France, AMECO of China, China Airlines, Evergreen Aviation Technologies, GAMECO, Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co, Lufthansa AERO, MTU Maintenance Hanover, Royal Brunei Airlines, Safe Air of New Zealand, and TAT Industries of France.

Starting from 1 January 2009, Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company (VAECO) was established. VAECO was organized based on A75, A76 main bases and Da Nang technical department. The VAECO is taking responsibility for maintaining and technical services for VNA aircrafts and the other airlines.This establishment opens a new era of Aircraft maintenance field in Vietnam. VAECO in the near future plans to become the reliable aircraft MRO service provider in Southeast Asia region, especially for any others airlines who fly to Vietnam.

Financial standing

Vietnam Airlines is owned by the government of Vietnam.[41] The carrier has two wholly owned subsidiaries: Vietnam Aviation Service Company (VASCO)[7] and Vietnam Airlines Express.

Vietnam Airlines has enjoyed good growth and an average of 37 per cent increase in passengers flown per year until 1997, when the Southeast Asian economic crisis and other contributing causes led to a loss in profits for the airline.[42] Nevertheless, the airline remained profitable throughout the crisis. In 1996 and 1997, the airline posted profits exceeding US$100 million each year.[43] In 1998, the airline saw its profit shrink to approximately US$7 million. Profits increased to US$59 million in 1999.[43] Following the September 2001 attacks on the United States, at a time when many airlines were struggling, Vietnam Airlines saw a spike in passenger revenues. The airline carried more than 4 million passengers in 2002, which is an 18 per cent increase over the previous year.[44] Its cargo traffic also climbed 20 per cent during the same period, resulting in a 2002 profit of US$35.77 million.[44] Despite the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, the airline posted a US$26.2 million profit for 2003. In 2006, it carried 6.8 million passengers (3.7 million international) and earned revenue of nearly US$1.37 billion (first 11 months). Vietnam Airlines carried more than 8 million passengers, of which 3.3 million were international travellers in 2007,[12] the year which saw the airline earning a gross profit of US$23 million[45]. As well as that, it also transported 115,100 tonnes of cargo. In 2009, the airline's revenue was US$1.3 billion, compared to US$1.56 billion it earned the previous year. During this period, Vietnam Airlines carried 9.3 million passengers[46].

Vietnam Airlines holds about 40 per cent of the market share of international tourists flying to and from Vietnam.[7] This is significant because Vietnam Airlines receives two-thirds of its profits from international passengers.

Vietnam Airlines is enjoying its current financial situation and is planning to increase its fleet size and destinations in the coming years.

Subsidiaries

  • Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO)
  • Vietnam Airlines Engineering Company (VAECO)
  • Noibai Catering Services Join-Stock Company
  • Noibai Airport Service Joint-stock Company (NASCO)
  • Vietnam Air Petrol Company (VINAPCO)
  • Vietnam Airlines Aviation Printing Joint-Stock Company (AVIPRINT)
  • Middle Airport Service Company (MASCO)
  • Noibai Cargo Terminal Service (NCTS)
  • Air Service Supply Join-Stock Company (AIRSERCO)
  • General Aviation Import-Export Join-Stock Company (AIRIMEX)

References

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