Hybrid carrier Bamboo Airways on Wednesday received government approval for expanding its fleet size from ten to 30 planes by 2023, despite earlier concerns about the newest Vietnamese airline’s financial capacity.
The government decision, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, approves Bamboo Airways’ proposed adjustments to its investment plans until 2023.
The fledgling airline, which operated its maiden flight on January 16 this year, sought to spend VND8.3 trillion (US$356.63 million) bringing its fleet size to 22 planes in 2019 and to 30 planes by 2023.
Bamboo Airways, which has a charter capital of VND1.3 trillion ($55.87 million), currently operates a fleet of ten Airbus jets.
Initially, the airline had planned to maintain a ten-plane fleet until 2023.
The approved 30 planes include both narrow-body jets such as the Airbus A319, A320, and A321 as well as wide-body aircraft like the Airbus A330, A350 and Boeing B787.
|A flight attendant of Bamboo Airways says thanks to its passengers aboard a flight from Ho Chi Minh city to Hanoi, Vietnam May 8, 2019. Picture taken May 8, 2019. Photo: Reuters|
Bamboo’s fleet expansion plan was approved despite earlier concerns raised by the Vietnamese finance ministry about its financial capacity to execute the plan.
Since its maiden flight until April 30, Bamboo Airways reported a loss of VND329 billion ($14.14 billion), the ministry said in a letter sent to the administration of Binh Dinh Province, where the airline is registered, regarding its proposed fleet-size expansion.
Bamboo Airways’ parent company FLC Group reported total corporate liabilities of VND13,679 billion ($589 million), equivalent to 59 percent of its assets, by the end of 2018, according to the group’s audited financial statements.
Therefore, the ministry suggested that FLC Group and Bamboo Airways submit a clear report that demonstrates their financial capacity to exercise obligations related to the financial guarantees.
Four major Vietnamese airlines - Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific Airlines, Vietjet Air and Bamboo Airways - expect to have a combined fleet size of nearly 300 planes by 2023.
This includes 155-160 planes by Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar, 102-106 planes by Vietjet, and 30 planes by Bamboo.
Bamboo Airways said it expects to welcome its 10,000th flight since launch later this month.