Vietnam Airlines, which has announced a pre-tax profit of 533 billion VND (25.3 million USD) for 2013, said it would cut fares since it is faced with tough competition.

In a press release the carrier said despite the difficult global economic situation its profits exceeded the target by 34 percent.

Its revenues were 72.6 trillion VND (3.4 billion USD).

The airline transported 15 million passengers at a flight load factor of 79.5 percent, its highest ever.

Among the difficulties it faced last year were lower demand for air travel and a depreciation of certain currencies like the Japanese yen and Australian dollar against the US dollar, affecting revenues.

In an online conference organised by the Ministry of Transport on January 9, Pham Viet Thanh, Chairman of Vietnam Airlines, said the carrier suffered negative impact last year as Middle Eastern airlines began to fly on many routes, exerting great pressure on European and Asian airlines. As a result, some European airlines have suspended services to Vietnam.

In the domestic market, low-cost air carriers have expanded their services and fleets, making the competition more intense, Thanh said.

It would seek to cut costs to compete with local and international airlines, Thanh said.

The airline is also set to start the equitisation process this year and streamline its workforce to cut costs while hoping that the global economic situation will improve in 2014, helping boost travel demand.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast the global aviation sector to continue to grow in the next five years.-VNA