Vietjet’s CEO, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, is the only woman to have started and run her own major commercial airline.

Her success with Vietjet has also made her very wealthy. She is Vietnam’s first self-made woman billionaire, with a net worth of USD2.5 billion, and the wealthiest self-made woman in Southeast Asia.

The airline, founded in 2007, is now bigger than flag carrier Vietnam Airlines as measured by passengers carried.

From just a handful of domestic routes when it launched, Vietjet has slowly expanded to 80 aircraft servicing 120 destinations.

“Our strategy is to expand to any regional market within a radius of 2,500 kilometres,” she says, “so we can create bases that cover half of the world population.”

In 2017, Vietjet debuted on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of USD1.4 billion. The next year, Vietjet transported 23 million passengers, accounting for 46% of Vietnam’s passenger market.

Vietjet’s revenue climbed 27% to 54 trillion dong (USD2.3 billion) in 2018.

This year, Vietjet expects to grow even faster, projecting it will carry 30 million passengers, up 30% from last year.

TTR Weekly - October 2, 2019