Bamboo Airways turns one as Hanoi – Prague announced
Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways turns one on the 16th January 2020. The country’s new and highly ambitious airline flew over three million seats in 2019 – a large amount for a new entrant – of which almost all were domestic.
Vietnam’s total seats up 14 million YOY
The carrier’s entrance comes at a time of exceptional growth to, from, and within Vietnam. In 2019, the country’s total seats increased by 17% and 14 million YOY. This is on the back of strong economic growth (7%) and international tourism, the latter up 2.7 million YOY to 15 million. It is said that Vietnam will become the next Thailand for tourism.
After one year, Bamboo Airways has 23 aircraft across 35 routes
Despite the country’s growth, there are clear questions over the speed with which the airline is expanding. It now operates 23 aircraft primarily comprising the A320ceo/neo but also the A319, A321neo, and the B787-9. The carrier is Vietnam’s first privately owned airline to operate widebody aircraft, with its B787-9 delivered just before Christmas.
Bamboo Airways uses these aircraft on 28 domestic and seven international routes, with its top-10 routes in 2019 shown below. Its international routes are led by Da Nang – Seoul Incheon. OAG Traffic Analyser shows that this airport-pair had two million passengers last year across 11 (!) operators.
Prague announced as first foray into Europe
Europe is set to be a core part of Bamboo Airways’ network, which is not surprising as almost 2.5 million flew between Europe and Vietnam last year – with 72% flying indirectly.
Bamboo Airways will link Hanoi with Prague on a three-weekly basis from 29 March 2020, with minimal lead-in time. With 63,300 passengers, Prague is Europe’s number-one unserved market from Vietnam. Emirates is the key airline between them (47% market share) followed by Aeroflot (28%). At first glance, Prague might seem strange, but the Czech Republic has Europe’s third-largest Vietnamese diaspora, with up to 80,000 reported. And Czechs are increasingly going to Vietnam on holiday. The downside, of course, is not volume but relatively low yields, somewhat counteracted by the efficiency of the B787-9.