National carrier Vietnam Airlines (VNA) has sold the remaining of its Boeing 777-200ER jets to brace for a major fleet upgrade with more cost-efficient airliners.
The airline has inked deals with U.S. aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to sell its last four Boeing 777-200ER’s and one PW4090 jet engine for upwards of US$70.7 million, ending the airliner’s 15-year service in the fleet.
First commissioned by the flag carrier in April 2003, Boeing 777-200ER’s have made nearly 101,000 flights for the Vietnamese airline during their service.
The jets have transported nearly 22.9 million passengers flying on 16 of Vietnam Airlines’ international routes to seven countries, as well as daily domestic flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The wide-body, twin-engine jet airliners maintained a perfect safety record during their 15-year history in VNA’s fleet.
With 1,460 planes manufactured as of 2016, Boeing 777 was one of the best-selling models ever produced by the Boeing Company, an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes worldwide.
The commissioning of Boeing 777-200ER’s enabled Vietnam Airlines to open its first direct flight routes to multiple European countries, including France, Russia, Germany, and the UK.
“The fleet accomplished its mission with excellence, leaving a major imprint in our history of development over the past 15 years,” said Phan Xuan Duc, VNA deputy general director.
A video compiled by Vietnam Airlines and posted on its official Facebook page to bid farewell to its Boeing 777-200ER fleet
To achieve its vision of becoming a world-class airline by 2020, VNA has commissioned state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-900 XWB’s since mid-2015.
The modern aircraft require up to 20-25 percent less in maintenance costs, while being significantly environment-friendlier, Duc said.
According to the VNA executive, the modernization and simplification of the airline’s fleet in terms of aircraft models would “improve efficiency, reduce the costs and expand its revenue to improve [VNA’s] competitiveness in the global market.”
VNA currently commissions 11 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and seven Airbus A350-900 XWB’s in its fleet, which together have made 20,200 safe flights.