Regional freighter fleets in the Far East having been growing steadily during the past decade. This applies mainly to China based carriers such as YTO Express, SF Airlines and carriers operating on behalf of the Chinese postal authorities. Now, it seems that Vietnam wants to join the group in order to take part in the Far Eastern regional cargo traffic boom.
Vietnam’s first private airline
The carrier was founded back in 2007 and named VietJet. However it took until 2012 before they actually became airborne. In 2010 Kuala Lumpur based Air Asia took a 30% holding in VietJet and was partly instrumental in getting the carrier up and running. In the meantime, because of Vietnam government regulations, the airline has been renamed as VietJetAir and apart from the 38 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft in operation, has also placed an order with Boeing for 100 of the new B737 MAX-8 aircraft. There are plans to readily expand regional passenger routes throughout Asia.
VietJetAir looks for freighters
The Hanoi based carrier recently set up their own dedicated air cargo unit. This is under the control of Do Xuan Quang who was appointed as Vice President Cargo. The present Airbus passenger fleet offers quite some belly capacity for cargo and once the Boeing 737 MAX fleet is on line, this cargo capacity offer will increase considerably.
It seems that VietJetAir’s management is not just content to carry cargo in the bellies of their fleet and there are reports that they are looking to add at least two to three Boeing 737
freighters as well. These are said to be the B737-400 type which can carry up to 21 tons spread over eleven main deck positions and in their bellies. Things are moving fast because VietJetAir
would like to have these freighters in operation before the end of this year. The question is whether they will consider purchasing two converted passenger aircraft or rather go for a so called
ACMI or Dry Lease operation by leasing in other carriers and their crews or even using their own.
The main cargo flow routes which may be of interest for VietJetAir Cargo are those within the country, between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, as well as operations to Thailand (BKK), Tokyo and Hong Kong. it seems that the main demand for space is on the aforementioned routes.There were some rumours a few months ago that the carrier was looking at purchasing or leasing in the longer range Airbus A330-200 freighter in order to expand into the international market.
Things have gone quiet on the A330F and maybe VietJetAir wants to see how a freighter operation can be best run by starting with a smaller aircraft type.
Probably a wise decision.
John Mc Donagh