The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has just granted an Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC) to Vietstar Airlines Multirole Corporation (VSA), a joint venture between a military company and two private firms.
An AOC is the approval for an airline to use aircraft for commercial purposes or for those listed in the document.
The certificate allows Vietstar Airlines to operate the Embraer Legacy 600 and Beechcraft King Air B300.
The Embraer Legacy 600 is a business jet that can fly nonstop for up to eight hours in the Asia-Pacific region, while the other aircraft is a versatile twin-engine turboprop that has eight tourist seats.
The first carrier to be permitted to fly business jets in Vietnam, Vietstar Airlines will offer premium aviation services to local and foreign individuals, organizations, and enterprises.
The airline was set up by three main shareholders, A41 Aircraft Repair Company, which belongs to the Vietnamese air force, Vietstar Aviation Joint Stock Company, and Tin Thanh Express Joint Stock Company, with a legal capital of VND400 billion (US$17.2 million).
It got a business license from the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Planning and Investment on April 27, 2010.
The CAAV granted the approval for the airline to run common air transport services on June 16, 2011.
This is the first time the military has ever established a joint venture with the private sector to operate an airline.
Vietstar Airlines chiefly operates cargo transport services in Vietnam and serves military purposes such as transporting air forces and military equipment, conducting surveys, and carrying out observatory flights.
There are now six airlines offering domestic flights in Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Jetstar Pacific, Vasco, Bamboo Airways, and Vietstar Airlines.
Three more carriers waiting for take-off include Vietravel Airlines, operated by leading tourist company Vietravel, Thien Minh Aviation Joint Stock Company, run by Thien Minh Group, and Vinpearl Air, under multifaceted Vingroup.
In the past, the two private carriers Indochina Airlines and Air Mekong shut down in Vietnam.