Vietnam’s low-cost carrier Vietjet announced the opening of three air routes linking the country with Japan and inked $1.2 billion financing deals with multiple world-leading finance companies in a conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Vietjet’s three new routes will be officially put into operation in the next three months, the carrier announced at the event, witnessed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who was on an official visit to Japan, and several high-ranking Japanese and Vietnamese dignitaries.
Specifically, the direct Osaka-Hanoi flight is set for launch on November 8, the Osaka-Ho Chi Minh City on December 14, and the Tokyo-Hanoi route on January 11, 2019.
Speaking at the event, PM Phuc said that “the launch of the routes from Vietnam to Japan’s Kansai region is of significance in sharing the cause to rebuild Kansai’s economy and tourism after it was devastated by a storm in early September.”
“This will also contribute to the tourism and trade development between the two countries and in the region,” the PM added.
Echoing the Vietnamese head of government’s view, Hiroshi Tabata, commissioner of Japan Tourism Agency, expressed his belief that “these new routes will also contribute to an increase in the number of Vietnamese visitors to Japan.”
Tabata was also confident that Vietjet’s flights to Japan would bring new travel experiences and choices to passengers from Vietnam and Japan.
According to Vietjet, all the new routes are operated with a daily return flight each. Booking is already available on the carrier’s website.
Previously, the budget airline has already worked with Japanese partners to organize several flights from Vietnam to airports in Osaka, Narita, Sendai, Nagoya, Komatsu, Ibaraki and Fukushima.
On the same day in Tokyo, Vietjet signed and exchanged an aircraft financing agreement with Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited (MUL), a member of Japan’s leading finance group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), and the banking group BNP Paribas from France.
The agreement is meant to pave the way for MUL and BNP Paribas to finance Vietjet’s acquisition of up to five brand new aircraft, worth $614 million, according to the manufacturer’s listed price.
|Vietjet's vice-president Dinh Viet Phuong (1st row, center) exchanges aircraft financing agreements with a representative of Japanese companies. Photo: Vietjet|
On top of this deal, Vietjet, France-based banking group Natixis and some Japanese equity underwriters also signed a memorandum of understanding valued at $625 million, according to the manufacturer’s listed price, to facilitate financing for five additional aircraft.
These deals are made under a financing plan for Vietjet’s future ownership of the aeroplane.
The acquisition of all these aircraft is part of a new-and-modern aircraft contract signed earlier between Vietjet and Airbus, and includes an A321neo plane, which incorporates the latest in engine design, advanced aerodynamics and cabin innovations.
All aircraft financed on Wednesday will be delivered to Vietjet in the last quarter of 2018 or early 2019, according to the low-cost carrier.
Vietjet’s vice-president Dinh Viet Phuong gladly said at the event that “the critical financing agreements signed once again confirms the confidence of leading Japanese financiers in Vietjet as the airline prepares to launch new routes to Japan soon.”
The carrier currently operates the latest generation narrow-body aircraft fleet and has been recently listed by Airfinance Journal as one of the world’s 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations.