AirAsia has announced that it is entering into a joint venture with privately owned VietJet Air to start a low cost carrier in Vietnam.
AirAsia has taken a 30 per cent stake in the VietJet for an unspecified amount, which was approved by the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport on February 9 with the carrier to be rebranded as VietJet AirAsia.
“The joint venture is a well balanced combination of the management system, technical expertise, long term experience in the airline industry, crew and international brand of AirAsia, and the financial strength, as well as Vietnamese market insights of VietJet Air,” the Vietnamese company said in a statement issued on February 10. VietJet adds that it is currently working on routes, frequencies and the launch of flights, but has signalled that it will operate both domestic and international services.
VietJet Air was licensed in December 2007 but has not yet operated any services. The carrier had signed a letter of intent to lease two Boeing 737-700s from GECAS, but later cancelled the deal.
The new LCC will be the fourth carrier to carry the AirAsia brand, with the Malaysian carrier also involved in joint ventures in Thailand and Indonesia. AirAsia has long had ambitions of entering the Vietnamese market, and in 2007 announced plans to start an LCC joint venture with state-owned shipbuilding company VinaShin, although this was blocked by the Vietnamese government.