State-owned carrier Vietnam Airlines has plans to adopt a new strategy from November that involves reducing business-class seats on its planes while increasing the number of economy seats, sparking rumors the airline will soon offer low-cost options on its otherwise full-service flights.
The change will come with Vietnam Airlines’ addition of new Airbus A321neo planes to its fleet in late October and early November, an airline leader told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
More economy seats will also pave the way for introducing a broader range of fare options for cost-conscious flyers, he added.
Offering more choices in economy class is a common practice in the aviation industry, he said, stressing that Vietnam Airlines is focused on improving service quality and satisfying customers’ needs.
“The plan is not yet final, as it’s still being considered,” the airline leader added.
“Even if we’re committed to making it happen, it will not be a simple task. The change arises from customers’ needs and will not affect the quality of our service,” he said.
Some Vietnam Airlines flights currently depart with empty business-class seats, so rolling out more economy options and promotions to improve occupancy rate is an understandable move, he added.
Nevertheless, some have described the plan as the flag carrier’s first step in offering low-cost options on its otherwise full-service flights.
However, the Vietnam Airlines leader dismissed the suggestion, saying that the airline does not aim to tap into the low-cost market, as it is not in line with its brand positioning.
The national flag carrier already holds majority stake at budget airline Jetstar Pacific, which it acquired in February 2012.