Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

Vietnam Airlines is planning to double the size of its 23-aircraft fleet by 2010 in a $2 billion programme approved by the government in mid-January.

According to state media, the prime minister gave approval on 5 January to spend 15,000 billion dong ($1 billion) up to 2005, and another 14,000 billion dong up to 2010 on the expansion plan. The first phase would see the Vietnam Airlines fleet expand to 32 aircraft, while the second would boost it to 46 aircraft. Of these, 18 aircraft will be owned by 2005, while by 2010, 34 aircraft will be owned.


Vietnam's current fleet is mostly leased, and comprises five Boeing 767-300ERs, 10 Airbus A320s, two Fokker 70s and six ATR 72 turboprops. Three more ATR 72-500s have just been ordered for delivery from October, with the second and third aircraft to be delivered in March and June next year.

The airline signed a letter of intent in November for the possible $480 million acquisition of three Boeing 777-200ERs, during an official visit to Vietnam by then-US President Bill Clinton. The carrier now says it is sending a team to Boeing for further studies, according to Vietnamese reports. More 767 and A320 orders are also expected.

The government is anticipating annual growth of 14% in domestic and international passenger traffic up to 2005, and a further 9% growth each year from 2006-2010. Cargo traffic is expected to increase 8% annually.

In 2005, the government is predicting Vietnam Airlines will carry 5.5 million passengers and 87,000t of cargo, rising to 8.2 million passengers and 130,000t of cargo by 2010. The carrier has reported a $31.97 million gross profit for last year.

Source: Flight International