Vietnam's Sovico Group, a major shareholder of budget airline Vietjet Air, has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a comprehensive partnership with Linfox Airports, the
owner of Avalon Airport in Australia.
In a statement, the two partners said they will cooperate in the development of passenger and cargo services, aviation facilities and hotel accommodation in Australia as well as enabling to open and connect flight routes between Vietnam, Melbourne Avalon and other regional destinations in the near future.
Representing Sovico Group, the chairman of the Founding Committee, Nguyen Thanh Hung signed the MoU with David Fox, chief executive of Linfox Airports, with the witness of Vietnamese Prime
Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and other high-ranking dignitaries from both countries.
The MoU also provides initiatives for Sovico and Linfox to extend the relationship to broader business aspects, including the establishment of a joint venture in aviation, airport infrastructure development, tourism, services, banking and finance, among others.
Reconsidering large B737 MAX orders
Sovico Holdings, in which Vietjet Air CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao owns 52% of charter capital, currently holds a 7.59% stake of the budget airline’s charter capital.
Linfox Group is a leading conglomerate in Australia investing in aviation, real estate development, transportation, and banking.
VietJet Air, which has a minority stake in Thai VietJet (9%) and is based at Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat Airport, flies to 13 domestic destinations and seven international destinations in China, Cambodia, Myanmar, South Korea, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The airline's fleet consists of 24 Airbus A320-200s and Airbus A321-200s. In 2018, the airline has also signed a MoU for the purchase of 80 737 MAX 10s and 20 737 MAX 8s, but this order is being reconsidered following the grounding of this aircraft type after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610.
Next Vietnamese airline will take off 2020
In another development, another low-cost carrier Vinpearl Air of the private conglomerate Vingroup will start domestic and international flights from July 2020 with a fleet of six aircraft, according to director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) Dinh Viet Thang.
According to Thang, the US$200 million airline will increase the number of its aircraft to 36 by 2025, adding six to its fleet each year. Narrow-body Airbus A320 and A321 or Boeing B737, and wide-body Airbus A330 and A350 or Boeing 787 will be used on its planned 62 domestic routes and 93 international routes by 2025. Vinpearl Air will be based at Hanoi Noi Bai airport by 2020.
Nol van Fenema