Bamboo Airways director Dang Tat Thang said at a press conference on April 20 that they were completing paperwork for the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Transport. They have signed a contract with Airbus to buy 24 A321 NEO aircraft and will start receiving the planes starting from 2021.

"In order to meet the date, we'll hire 10 aircraft and receive the A321 NEO in the coming years," he said.

He went on to say that Bamboo Airways would be a hybrid carrier. Thang promised that the ticket prices will be higher than Vietjet Air's prices just a little but passengers would be provided with what they described as five-star services.

Besides popular domestic routes that connect with many tourism destinations such as Nha Trang and Quang Ninh, their international flights will mostly to key markets in North-eastern Asia including Japan, South Korea, China, Singapore and Thailand. In the long-term, they will also expand markets to the US and Europe.

Deputy Director Nguyen Ngoc Trong is optimistic about the potential development. "With 100 million potential passengers and increasingly-popular air travel, there's a big enough market for two more airlines," he said.

Bamboo Airways is expected to be a huge competitor to Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air who account for most of the market share. Vasco is still small in business and Jetstar Airlines is operated by Vietnam Airlines.

However, many people doubt Bamboo Airways' competitiveness. In past years, many startup airlines had shut down or went bankrupt. The Indochina Airlines still owes VND30bn (USD1.31m) in debts and the Air Mekong also owes VND26bn.

Trong said that many airlines failed because of human resources, choice of aircraft or targeted passengers. He said they would start to be profitable from the second year.

"We'll try not to repeat the same mistakes and aim to bring 10 planes into operation every year," he said.

By Nguyen Khanh - Dan Tri International News - April 22, 2018