Vietnam Air seeks regional role

Vietnam Airlines hopes to transform itself into a regional carrier and Vietnam into a regional hub by 2020.
“We want to be a regional company,” said company chairman Nguyen Sy Hung, speaking on the sidelines of an investment forum in Hanoi last week.

Hung said the airline plans to spend $3 billion to boost its fleet to 100 aircraft by 2020, which is roughly the size of most major Asian airlines.

As Vietnam Airlines will gradually lose some of its home advantages once the market liberalizes under membership in the World Trade Organisation - expected probably this year or next - spreading its wings to the rest of the region should help it sustain a healthy growth rate in the years ahead, reported Dow Jones newswire.

The company saw passenger growth of around 14% a year on average over the past decade and has steadily improved the quality of its services during that time.

Strong tourism growth, both domestic and foreign, will help it fill seats on planes even as Hanoi opens its skies to greater competition, while international demand for high-quality Vietnamese debt and equity will enable it to fund growth through international markets if domestic sources are limited.