Various airlines in Vietnam are working hard to finance their fleet expansion as increasing passenger demand presents a positive outlook for the industry. However, with increasing competition, more astute management will be required to reap the benefits.

Vietnam Airlines, the national flag carrier, revealed its fleet development plan by recently putting a new A321-200 aircraft into operation.

The aircraft, leased from Vietnam Aircraft Leasing Company (VALC), is the first in a deal of 10 new A321-200 aircraft purchased by VALC from Airbus Airline.

The carrier plan to buy 26 new Airbus aircraft during the 2011-2014 period, with seven expected to be delivered in 2012. Vietnam Airlines officials said that the leasing and purchasing of new aircraft is part of the fleet modernization plan to meet market demand and future development requirements.

The carrier conducts over 300 flights a day on 80 routes, to 20 domestic and 26 international destinations. Its fleet is expected to increase from 115 to 170 aircraft between 2015 and 2020.

Following the same trend, low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific on August 22 launched a new A320, the third of its kind in the fleet. Jetstar Pacific with a current capacity of 240 flights a week is expected to receive three more A320s before the end of this year.

Le Hong Ha, General Director of Jetstar Pacific, said that the operation of the new A320 fleet would help reduce the cost of operation and technical maintenance.

The trend of fleet expansion can also be seen at Air Mekong – a private airline planning to rent two more A321 aircraft to serve the growing demand of domestic routes. In recent years, the Vietnam aviation market has seen robust growth.

Over the past three years, Vietnam’s carriers have served about 30 million passengers and transported 500,000 tonnes of cargo, a four-fold increase of both number of passengers and cargo compared with the figures recorded before 2005.-VNA