The launch of VietJet Air, the country's first private carrier to offer both domestic and international flights, is expected to help attract more international visitors, says Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Hoang Tuan Anh.

Anh delivered this statement during the ceremony to welcome the carrier's first commercial flight, which carried 120 passengers from HCM City to Hanoi on Dec. 24.

The addition of VietJet Air to the market will help meet the goal of greeting 10 million foreign visitors per year by 2015, he noted, adding that about 88 percent of international tourists currently arrive in Vietnam by air, compared to just 10 percent by sea and only 2 percent by land.

"As of today, VietJet Air officially operates round-trip flights on the HCM City-Hanoi route," said the airline's general director Pritam Singh. "In the short term, we will consider increasing the number of flights on the route to better meet the rising demand of passengers during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday."

The launch of Hanoi-Da Nang and HCM City-Da Nang services was also slated for the first quarter of next year.

The airline planned to increase its fleet by three to five aircrafts annually to a fleet of 15 aircraft by early 2015, allowing the airline to fly to other destinations domestically and in the Asian region, including Macau , Singapore , China , Hong Kong , Japan and the Republic of Korea .

VietJet Air is the fifth airline to operate in the domestic market, following Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific, Air Mekong and the Vietnam Air Services Co (Vasco). It was the first private airline to obtain a licence, although Indochina Airlines and Air Mekong, licensed in 2008 and 2009, were able to establish flights earlier./.