Vietnam Airlines to merge VASCO with start-up VietAir

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Vietnam Airlines plans to restructure its subsidiary Vietnam Air Service (VASCO) and merge its operations with a new joint-stock airline, VietAir.

Vietnam's flag carrier has already received in-principle approval to start VietAir from deputy prime minister Hoang Trung Hai, says a VASCO spokesman.

It is still unclear who will be the other investors in VietAir, he adds. "Everything is still on the table for discussion," says the spokesman.

A Vietnam Airlines spokesman declines comment.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has yet to receive a formal application for VietAir to begin operations, says its director of air transport Vo Huy Cuong.

However, the CAAV understands that VietAir will initially start operations in the general aviation market, operating helicopter, air taxi and air ambulance services, adds Vo.

"Vietnam Airlines plans to join VASCO and VietAir into one, and they will then provide scheduled commercial services," he says.

VASCO operates scheduled and charter passenger and cargo services. It serves four domestic destinations from Ho Chi Minh City, according to its website.

It operates ATR 72, Beechcraft KingAir B200s and Antonov An-2 aircraft.