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Bamboo Airways nears launch with Vietnam AOC approval

Vietnamese start-up Bamboo Airways is moving closer to its long-delayed a launch, after the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) granted the carrier an air operator certificate.

In an 8 January press release, parent FLC Group says Bamboo was granted the AOC after completing necessary processes, complying with conditions set by the CAAV on "operational standards" that prove its ability to provide "operational and service safety".

"The AOC certification is the result of four years of efforts by all of Bamboo Airways' employees. This is a certificate of belief, will, and consensus of all parties. I am confident that this AOC certification is an important first step for Bamboo Airways to serve passengers and devote themselves to Vietnam's aviation industry," says Bamboo's chief executive Dang Tat Thang in the press release.

Having missed several planned launch dates, Bamboo did not specify any new launch date in the latest FLC statement, despite declaring at the end of 2018 its aim of commencing services in the middle of January 2019.

In terms of network, Bamboo set an ambitious target of operating 37 routes this year. The first domestic routes will include Hanoi-Phu Cat, Hanoi-Dong Hoi, Ho Chi Minh City-Phu Cat, Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City, and Ho Chi Minh City-Van Don.

Internationally, it is looking at serving Asian countries such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, along with Europe. FLC goes on to state that Bamboo had disclosed international route plans with its "Japanese partners".

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that five Airbus A320 family jets – one A319 and four A320s – will see leases start with the carrier on 15 January 2019. The lease of another A320 will commence on 25 January.

Two A320s and the A319 are managed by Standard Chartered. Dragon Aviation Leasing manages one of the remaining A320s, and Aviation Capital Group another A320. The last A320 is managed by Lithuania’s Small Planet Airlines.

None of the six jets has received a Vietnamese registration. The A319 is equipped with 128 seats in a two-class configuration, with eight in business class and 120 in economy. Three of the A320s have 180 seats in an all-economy configuration. The remaining two A320s have 159 seats in an all-economy configuration.

In addition, three on-order A320neos managed by CDB Aviation are scheduled to start their leases in October 2019.

The airline also has letters of intent for 24 A321neos and 20 Boeing 787-9s.

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