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Bamboo Airways Adds New Route Amid Shakeup

A Bamboo Airways A321neo aircraft (Photo: Tokimvuong [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)])

Bamboo Airways became the first Vietnam carrier to launch the flight operation to Chinese city of Lijiang, operating three charter flights a week from Hanoi to the Chinese tourist hotspot. The new flight could shorten the traveling time from four hours or above to two hours.

The airline said the new flight could meet travel demand and deepen the cooperation between the two countries in various fields. The charter flight could pave the way for launching other regular direct flights between Vietnam and China in the future. China was the second market of Vietnam’s tourism with over 700,000 arrivals in the first seven months of 2023.

Bamboo was the first private airline in the country. It was founded in 2017 and launched its operation in 2019. The airline was determined to expand its route map by launching its services to the U.K., Europe and Australia in the first phase. The senior management had high hopes for Bamboo, with the aim of owning a fleet of 100 aircraft by 2030 if conditions allow.

However, Bamboo missed the mark and experienced a severe turbulence in the recent months, reporting a loss of VND17.6 trillion dong ($747.8 million) for 2022.

Management Reshuffle

After weeks of announcing the financial report, Hideki Oshima, the chairman of the airline, and Nguyen Minh Hai, the CEO of the airline, and other two Board of Directors (BOD) have stepped down after only one month at the helm. Le Thai Sam and Nguyen Ngoc Trung were appointed to the new chairman and CEO respectively. Bamboo said the management shakeup is part of its ongoing restructuring plan.

In addition, Bamboo denied the rumor of bankruptcy, mentioning that it would maintain stable operation and implement drastic restructuring and reform initiatives. It doubled down on expanding the flight network and optimizing every resource, and the passengers could benefit from the restructuring.

The Civil Aviation Association (CAA) of Vietnam weighed in on the rumor and revealed that had not received the information and could not comment on the issue of which Vietnamese airlines go bankrupt.

“We understand that Vietnamese airlines face many post-pandemic difficulties just like other airlines in the world. Aviation authorities are always providing them with support,” Dinh Viet Thang, the director of CAA said.

But the “ongoing comprehensive restructuring progress” could leave some passengers behind. Earlier, the carrier announced that it would adjust the flight schedules and frequencies of some routes schedule from August, believing the plan could optimize resources allocation and improve operational efficiency.

The struggling airline apologized to the affected passengers but didn’t provide more details, emphasizing that it will continue operating its current fleet, including Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, Airbus A320 family, and Embraer aircraft to serve the passengers.

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