Air Mekong to suspend operations and restructure fleet

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Vietnamese regional carrier Air Mekong will suspend its operations from 28 February to restructure itself in an attempt to overcome mounting losses.

The privately-owned carrier's chairman, Doan Quoc Viet, says that the "temporary" suspension will allow it to restructure its fleet with new aircraft.

He adds that the board has been in negotiations to lease new aircraft, but could not specify the type that it was looking at. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that the airline operates four Bombardier CRJ900s that are leased from AerCap.

Doan says that the CRJ900s are "luxury aircraft", but are not fuel efficient and have resulted in the airline making financial losses.

Vietnamese media reports claim that Air Mekong recently had its credit terms suspended by fuel provider Vietnam Air Petrol Co, but Doan says that this has been reinstated since Air Mekong's major investor, BIM Group, provided a guarantee.

In August 2012, it was reported that the airline was seeking to add 10 Airbus A320s to its fleet for use on its Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi-Da Nang services, and allow it to expand internationally.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Air Mekong was launched in October 2010 and flies mainly to tourist centres within Vietnam, including Vinh, Pleiku, Qui Nhon and Dalat.