Vice President of Boeing International, Ralph L. "Skip" Boyce, admitted during his working visit to Vietnam last week that Boeing had found it difficult to expand its market share in Vietnam.

The US aircraft manufacturer estimates that Boeing aircraft now account for seven percent of the commercial fleets in Vietnam.

The figure may rise slightly to 10 percent the next year when the national flag air carrier Vietnam Airlines receives more Boeing aircraft.

Boyce, who is also the Boeing Southeast Asia’s President, said Boeing sees Vietnam as a market with great potential, and it has been trying to increase its presence in Vietnam.

While Boeing’s market share in Vietnam is moderate, more and more Airbuses are present in Vietnam. A report showed that 77 percent of the commercial fleet are Airbuses.

The predominance of Airbuses is attributed to a strategy pursued by Vietnamese airlines, which try to use the same line of products to save costs.

Prior to 2013, Jetstar Pacific used two lines of products, the Boeing 737-400S and Airbus A320. However, it later realized that it would be more economical for low-cost carriers to use a single line of products.

The air carrier has decided to shift to Airbus A320 after it estimated that it could cut 5-6 percent of fuel. Jetstar Pacific later returned five Boeings.

Vietjet Air, since the day it provided the first commercial flight in 2011, has been using Airbus A320 only. The air carrier now owns 16 Airbuses, while the number of Airbuses will increase in the future when it gets deliveries for 63 aircrafts under a contract signed with Airbus earlier this year.

A senior executive explained that A320 was the most suitable budget aircraft. Air Asia, the largest Malaysian airline, for example, has 80 Airbus A320s.

“Using the same aircraft will save maintenance costs, because you need the same kinds of parts and accessories,” he explained.

Meanwhile, an official with the Ministry of Transport said the slow delivery of aircraft to Vietnam Airlines some years ago could be the reason behind the decrease of Boeing’s market share in Vietnam.

According to the official, in 2005 and 2007, Vietnam Airlines ordered 15 Boeing 787-8s. However, Boeing delayed the deliveries many times. After many delays, Vietnam Airlines in 2010 decided to order Boeing 787-9s instead of 787-8s.

It is expected that the first Boeing 787-9 will be delivered by 2015.

VNE / VietNamNet Bridge - October 27, 2014