Vietnam Airlines is evaluating a future order for Airbus A220 or Embraer E2 jets, Ha Le Hong, the company’s CEO, revealed during the Routes Asia 2022 conference, which takes place in Danang.
The aircraft will replace the ATR 72-500 turboprops of which the airline has seven units. Vietnam awaits the expansion of runways at airports such as Con Dao and Dien Bien to decide which of the two jets will be chosen.
They are expected to be able to operate larger planes by the end of 2023, “which gives us some time to decide which aircraft to choose,” Le Hong said.
Although it did not point to a favourite, Vietnam would have the advantage of having a fleet almost entirely supplied by Airbus if it opted for the A220. The carrier has around 100 aircraft from the European planemaker, including 85 jets from the A320 family.
Embraer, in turn, can take advantage of the E2 series’ ability to operate on smaller runways, especially the E190, an aircraft closer to the ATR 72 turboprops.
From Soviet planes to western jets
Vietnam Airlines was created in 1956 by the government of Vietnam, initially accumulating the task of civil aviation body. Until the early 1990s, the airline had a small network of flights operated with Soviet jets, but soon after it began a strategy to expand its operations as Western aircraft.
Despite some complex initiatives to have 737s and A310s, only in 1994 did the US government lift the trade embargo, which allowed Vietnam Airlines to close its first contracts for modern aircraft.
Vietnam modernized and expanded its flights in the following years and even a possible privatization was considered, but on several occasions it ended up being cancelled. Although the Japanese ANA is a shareholder, the government of Vietnam continues to control the airline.