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International capacity returns as Sydney Airport breaks airline record

written by Jake Nelson | April 13, 2023

The first Vietjet A330-300 flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Sydney touches down. (Image: Sydney Airport)

International capacity appears to be finally returning to Australia after Sydney Airport said it’s now home to more airlines than at any point in its history.

The arrival of 50th carrier Vietjet this morning comes months after Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said international travel was still “lagging behind” and called on airlines to put on more services.

Vietjet flight VJ85 from Ho Chi Minh City touched down in Sydney at 7:41am, carrying almost 400 passengers on an Airbus A330-30.

It marked the first time in the airport’s 103-year history it has seen 50 airlines offering services at once.

Over the last 12 months, Sydney Airport has onboarded six new airlines – Batik Air Indonesia, Bamboo Airways, SriLankan Airlines, Thai AirAsia X, T’way Air, and now Vietjet – bringing its total number of airlines above even the 48 it saw pre-pandemic.


“This is an incredible achievement when you consider air travel was almost non-existent through COVID. Attracting airline networks to rebuild capacity to Sydney is key to supporting the recovery of international tourism, business travel, student travel and the broader New South Wales economy,” said Culbert.

“The Vietnam market has experienced a strong surge in capacity and demand, with passenger volumes 14 per cent above pre-COVID levels in March 2023. We’re thrilled to welcome Vietjet to Sydney Airport, as the airline will be providing a further low-cost option to this sought-after and popular destination.

“As Australia marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Vietnam, it’s fitting that our 50th airline is a Vietnamese carrier.”

Vietjet will fly three return A330-300 services per week between Sydney and Ho Chi Minh City, which joins other Australian destinations, including Melbourne and Brisbane. The Melbourne route began on Easter Sunday, while Brisbane services are expected to launch in June.

Vietjet Vice President, Nguyen Thanh Son, said Australia plays an “important role” in Vietjet’s business strategy.

“Connecting Sydney with Ho Chi Minh City demonstrates Vietjet’s strong commitment to provide a new choice for Australians to explore Vietnam and other Asian destinations through our diverse classes of SkyBoss Business, Skyboss, Deluxe and Eco,” he said.

“Our flights will make significant contributions to the economic and tourism growth of Vietnam, Australia and New South Wales in the coming years.”

There are now four airlines offering flights between Sydney and Vietnam – Bamboo Airways, Jetstar, Vietnam Airways, and Vietjet – serving a Vietnamese tourist market which saw 317,000 Australian travellers in 2019.

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