Budget carrier VietJet has been fined VND40 million (US$1,760) for hosting a bikini performance on its flight carrying the national U23 football team back home from the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China on the weekend.
The fine was issued on Tuesday by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAA), according to an announcement posted on its website the same day.
The performance in question occurred on VietJet charter flight VJ7269 from China’s Changzhou to Vietnam’s Hanoi on Sunday.
Although the in-flight performance did not lead to unsafe conditions, it was a potential threat to flight safety and therefore the airline had be fined in accordance with aviation regulations, CAA said in its announcement.
Apart from the administrative fine on the airline’s part, the purser on flight VJ7269 was also fined VND4 million ($176) for failing to report the incident to the flight captain.
VietJet CEO and President Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao received written advice for her responsibility as the chief executive of the airline.
VietJet has drawn a storm of criticism after a clip began to circulate across social media platforms on Sunday showing bikini-clad dancers strutting and performing suggestive moves on the airline’s Changzhou-Hanoi flight carrying the U23 footballers.
The performance was described as “ridiculous” and “grotesque” by Vietnamese fans, given that the passengers were ‘national heroes’ who had brought pride to the country by finishing as runners-up at the Asian football championship.
VietJet’s Thao took to the airline’s official Facebook page later the same day to apologize for the public relations misstep, though blaming the dancers for having put on a spontaneous performance.
The VietJet Facebook page has now been deactivated following a drove of negative comments on its posts directed at the scandal.